Entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabian University Reportedly Set to Start Carmaking Venture

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

Benson Kong on December 27 2010 11:04 AM
king saud university gazal 1 front three quarters

From the country that brought us the Gazal-1 comes word that a new, Saudi-based auto company is on the horizon. Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University is reportedly spearheading a venture to create the Persian Gulf nation’s first automaker. A prototype is said to be expected within two years.

The Gazal-1 was originally an exercise for King Saud University students (with assistance from Magna Steyr and StudioTorino) and is expected to see limited production, but this venture appears to be the real deal and more than just a boutique builder. The public university will team with an undisclosed South Korean manufacturing outlet for early production/operations. The same South Korean firm is also bankrolling 30 percent of the startup finances, and the Saudi automaker will reportedly “have a capital of about $500 million,” according to KSU president Abdullah al-Othman.

Another 15 percent of the monetary investment will be covered by Wadi al-Riyadh Technology, KSU’s investment arm. The remaining 55 percent will be offered to investors, but only when the time is right.

The aforementioned new prototype will be an economy car for use in the Persian Gulf region and North African states. Though the oil-rich nation is well-known for its concentration of exotic and luxury cars, a salable entry-level vehicles is expected to help diversify its portfolio.


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