Foxconn will go anywhere and do anything to realize its dream of becoming a major manufacturer of electric cars. Last month it said it wants to become the manufacturer of choice for many electric car brands, including Tesla. Chairman Liu Young-Way says his company plans to build cars in Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States, and is negotiating with partners in Indonesia and India.
Now comes word via Reuters that Foxconn has created a joint venture with PIF, an offshoot of the Saudi Wealth Fund, to manufacture a line of new electric cars and SUVs in Saudi Arabia that will be sold locally and throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. The company is called Ceer and is part of a plan to build new industries and lessen dependence on oil. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF focuses on developing promising sectors that can help diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy. The Saudi Arabian government is very keen on the automotive sector.
Ceer “is the first Saudi automotive brand to produce electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia, and will design, manufacture and sell a range of vehicles for consumers in Saudi Arabia and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, including sedans and sports utility vehicles,” PIF said in a statement. It added that its cars would be available starting in 2025, and that Ceer would draw more than $150 million in foreign direct investment, create up to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs, and contribute $8 billion to the kingdom’s GDP by 2034.
The joint venture “will license component technology from BMW for use in the vehicle development process. Foxconn will develop the electrical architecture of the vehicles, resulting in a portfolio of products that will lead in the areas of infotainment, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies,” PIF said in its press release.
“We will leverage Foxconn’s technological expertise to support Ceer’s vision of creating a range of iconic electric vehicles that are built around the themes of connectivity, infotainment and autonomy,” Foxconn Chairman Liu said, according to the PIF statement. “We want to make electric vehicles mainstream and that is what Ceer is going to achieve in Saudi Arabia and the wider region,” he added.
Lucid Group Inc, which is more than 60% owned by PIF, is building an electric vehicle assembly plant in Jeddah with an eventual capacity to manufacture 150,000 vehicles a year. The Saudi government signed a deal with Lucid to buy up to 100,000 of its cars over the next 10 years. Saudi Arabia is also making a push into mining and said in May it would build an electric vehicle battery metals plant.
PIF did not disclose funding details and did not say how much a Ceer plant would cost or where in the kingdom it would be built. A PIF spokesman could not be reached for further comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Saudi Arabia and Foxconn were in talks to jointly build a $9 billion facility that could make microchips, electric-vehicle components, and other electronics in NEOM, a futuristic $500 billion city being built in Saudi Arabia’s desert.
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