Saudi Arabia unveils first local car
Riyadh, June 16, 2010
Saudi Arabia has unveiled its first locally-built car, an all-terrain vehicle called 'Ghazal 1,' a report said.
There are plans to manufacture 20,000 units of the new vehicle a year, its promoters said.
King Abdullah unveiled a carbon fibre prototype of the new car, which was built by the King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh, on Monday in Jeddah, project official Abderrahman al-Ahmari was quoted as saying in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
The vehicle is designed for the desert climate and was produced 'in collaboration with several major companies, including Motorola, Mercedes-Benz and Magna Canada,' Arab News quoted Said Darwish, an industrial engineering professor at KSU, as saying.
Production of 20,000 units a year is planned, Darwish said.
Saudis contributed '90 per cent of the design of the Ghazal 1 and 60 per cent of its fabrication,' Ahmari said.
'Contacts are ongoing with Saudi investors for the mass production of the Ghazal 1,' he said, adding that he hoped the project would be achieved within two to three years.
'This is a national strategic product and KSU holds its patent rights and intellectual property rights,' university president Abdullah al-Othman said, also quoted in Arab News.
The project for the car, which is named after the Arabic for deer, would require a 500-million-dollar investment, according to unofficial estimates.
Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of crude, seeks to develop local industry, particularly by training its own managers and experts, and by technology transfer.