Muhammad Al-Zahrani, director of Industrial Investment Development at the Royal Commission for Jubail, revealed that the authority has begun preparing the infrastructure to attract three international car manufacturers, expecting the first car to be produced in 2022.
He explained in an interview with the “Al Arabiya” channel, that this comes in cooperation with the Korean company Sang Yong through the car assembly center, indicating that the engineering designs have reached an advanced stage.
Furthermore, he indicated that the study carried out by the authority targets approximately 40 billion riyals as a direct investment in the auto industry by 2040, suggesting that the auto sector will contribute 80 billion riyals to the GDP and provide 27,000 direct jobs.
Al-Zahrani pointed out that the automotive industry complex in the Kingdom comes in line with the strategic plan for the industry in it, indicating that the cities of Jubail and Ras Al-Khair Industrial City provide at least 90% of the raw materials which enter the automotive industry directly.
“Contacts are ongoing with Saudi investors for the mass production of the Gazal-1,” Abderrahman al-Ahmari, a project official, told the Association for Financial Professionals.
If the team finds the necessary investment, it hopes to have the car in production within two to three years. Production of the Gazal-1 is planned to be around 20,000 units per year.
Detail about the powertrain is unknown, but it’s likely an engine from the Mercedes lineup that made it under the hood, possibly even the 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 from the G55 AMG.
The KSU Gazal-1 (Arabic for ‘gazelle’) is a sport utility vehicle developed by students at King Saud University and technicians from Magna Steyr. The mass production began on 14 June 2010 under King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. The managers of the project are Dr. Abdul Rahman Alahmari and Dr. Saed Darweesh. Dr. Khalid Alsaleh who registered patents for the vehicle mentioned in a TV interview that environment-specific tests such as camel collision tolerance were conducted.
The car is the fourth home-made Arab automobile, after the Egyptian Ramses, the Moroccan Laraki, and the Libyan Saroukh el-Jamahiriya. With a projected output of 20,000 for 2011, the Gazal-1 was the first Arab vehicle to be mass-produced in the Arab World.
The KSU Gazal-1 is based on the long-wheeled Mercedes-Benz G 500 AMG and was designed by Studiotorino. Most of the automotive parts are produced by Magna Steyr in Austria. The assembly of the vehicle is made at the assembly plant of MAN Truck & Bus in Jeddah.