Saudi to produce first locally made car by 2017

Up to 300,000 units of the Meeya model to be built per year at a factory in Damman
Saudi to produce first locally made car by 2017
The unveiling of a model of the Saudi-made Meeya vehicle, at a ceremony in the capital Riyadh. (AFP/Getty Images)
By Beatrice Thomas
Thu 17 Apr 2014 11:28 AM

Saudi’s first locally produced car could be built by 2017 following a deal between Saudi and Malaysian businesses to establish a factory in Damman, it was reported.

Rashed Othman Jawhar, chairman of the Saudi Malaysian Industrial Development Holding Company, said 300,000 units a year of the Saudi-made Meeya car will be produced when the plant reaches maximum output.

He said the factory would create 2,000 jobs, with major vehicle manufacturing firms from Malaysia, China, Germany, Japan and Korea also involved in the project, Arab News reported.

Jawhar said the factory would start producing 50,000 cars in the first 36 months. The vehicles would come in three models ranging in price between SR45,000 ($11,999) and SR120,000 ($32,000).

A price reduction of up to 50 percent could also be possible if the government supported the project with land and other facilities.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry reportedly gave the companies the green light to carry out a feasibility study into the venture.

The ministry said in a statement that the company planning to set up a SR7.5bn ($ 2bn) automotive manufacturing plant still required further assessment before it could acquire a location and get government support, Arab News reported.

The preliminary license for the Shahid automotive manufacturing facility would not allow the manufacturer to collect money from the public, the statement added.

The ministry said it wanted to develop the automotive industry but it had to be done after careful co-ordination between government and the private sector.

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