Saudi Arabia doesn't have much history of car manufacturing, but the nation plans to launch an EV brand with help from BMW and Foxconn.
Called Ceer, the brand is a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, and Apple iPhone contract manufacturer Foxconn, and will license components from BMW, according to a press release from the PIF.
Officials aim to launch the first vehicles in 2025. Those vehicles will include sedans and SUVs, to be sold in Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, according to the release.
BMW i4 production and technology
The PIF and BMW didn't say which components would be specifically licensed from the German automaker, but the release did say Foxconn will develop the electrical architecture for Ceer EVs.
Foxconn has developed its own EV platform, as well as its own EV brand called Foxtron that aims to sell cars in the company's home country of Taiwan. Foxconn's former General Motors factory in Ohio is slated to manufacture EVs for Lordstown and Fisker, but Ceer EVs will be "designed and manufactured in Saudi Arabia," according to the PIF.
While the Saudi oil industry has been raking in record profits during the energy pinch this year, the country is looking to diversify its economy beyond oil production.
Foxconn MIH modular EV platform
Ceer is part of Vision 2030, a plan announced in 2016 by the Saudi government to end its addiction to oil. One of the first steps in that plan was the established of the PIF with $2 trillion of funding, much of it from the initial public offering of the national oil company Aramco. The PIF now funds businesses not associated with the fossil fuel industry—including EVs.
The PIF is a major investor in Lucid, and the U.S. EV maker is planning a Saudi Arabian factory, due to make vehicles starting in 2025. Saudi Arabia plans to buy up to 100,000 EVs from Lucid, with initial deliveries scheduled to start by the second quarter of 2023.