Foxconn and Saudi Arabia launches EV start-up

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Joint venture with Foxconn, backed by Mohammed bin Salman, will launch first car in 2025.

The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) has launched an electric vehicle start-up called Ceer, with plans to develop and produce a range of cars in the region.

A joint venture with Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, Ceer plans to launch its first vehicle for the Middle East and North African market in 2025.

The company will licence technologies from BMW for development purposes, but Foxconn – which in September launched its first EV, the Luxgen n7 crossover – is tasked with developing Ceer’s electrical architecture.

Vehicles will emphasise autonomous driving technologies, connectivity and infotainment, it said in a statement.

Foxconn chairman Young Liu said: “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.

“We want to make electric vehicles mainstream and that is what Ceer is going to achieve in Saudi Arabia and the wider region.”

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Foxconn has already shown concept cars as proof of concept.

PIF said in a statement that Ceer is to play a key role in diversifying the Saudi Arabian economy. The fund predicts Ceer will attract more than $150 million (AUD$231.5 million) in foreign investment and create 30,000 jobs. By 2034, the company is expected to contribute $8 billion (AUD$12.3 billion) to the Saudi economy.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “Saudi Arabia is not just building a new automotive brand. We are igniting a new industry and an ecosystem that attracts international and local investments, creates job opportunities for local talent, enables the private sector, and contributes to increasing Saudi Arabia’s GDP over the next decade, as part of PIF’s strategy to drive the economic growth in line with Vision 2030.”

This is the latest investment from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund – the oil state’s sovereign wealth fund, reported to be worth upwards of $534bn – in the automotive sphere.

PIF recently invested $139 million in Aston Martin – giving it a 16.7 per cent stake in the British firm and two board seats – and has shares in McLaren. PIF also owns roughly 61 per cent of Tesla-rival Lucid.

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