Foxconn buys land in Saudi Arabia for EV factory
Foxconn is pushing ahead with its plans to produce electric cars in Saudi Arabia. A dedicated plant is to be built for the new electric car brand Ceer, with construction scheduled to start in early 2023.
After the contract manufacturer helped unveil Saudi Arabia’s first electric car brand called Ceer in early November as a joint venture with Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF, a plot of land has now been purchased on which Ceer’s production facility will be built. The site in the planned King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) covers more than 1 million square metres, according to the Foxconn announcement. According to the statement, the purchase price was 359 million Saudi riyals, the equivalent of about 92 million euros.
Construction work for the factory is to begin in early 2023. It only goes on to say that the Ceer vehicles are to be available from 2025 – so the factory must be up and running by then. Foxconn can draw on experience from its other electric car projects and also has a specially developed platform for electric cars in the form of MIH. However, it has not yet been confirmed whether Ceer models will use the MIH.
While the technical details of the upcoming BEVs are still under wraps, it is clear that the company aims for the mass market, as not to compete directly with Lucid next door. As the main focus for Ceer currently is launching in their home market, the local preferences currently play the biggest role in vehicle design. And much like the US American market, consumers in Saudi Arabia prefer big SUVs sand luxurious sedans, which is where Ceer is going to be putting its development efforts to begin with. Regarding the design, consumer research is underway, however the technical requirements of being exposed to the constant heat and dust in the middle east will likely play a large role as well.
The factory is to be state-of-the-art and have the latest technologies “to ensure production efficiency while minimising energy and water consumption”, Foxconn said. It also aims to reduce waste.
Still not much is known about Ceer’s vehicles. They are to be manufactured in Saudi Arabia and sold in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) from 2025 – that is, in the Middle East and North Africa – this was stated when the brand was unveiled in early November. There will be saloons and SUVs, as it is now said. But their size or price range is not specified.
“We have found a place that meets all our needs,” says Ceer CEO James DeLuca. “KAEC offers us a great location with world-class logistics, effective access for our global and Saudi-based suppliers, and an ideal location to base and develop our future workforce.”
The fact that Ceer already has automotive-ready infrastructure in KAEC is likely due to its other projects in the planned city: In March 2022, Lucid had confirmed the construction of a factory for 150,000 electric cars per year in King Abdullah Economic City. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF (Public Investment Fund) has been a major investor in Lucid for years.