JEDDAH: The King Abdullah Economic City is all poised to become the automotive capital of the region, with car companies evincing interest in setting manufacturing facilities in the city, said its CEO Cyril Piaia.
The megacity has been finalizing deals with car manufacturers after the US-based electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors signed an agreement to build a production factory with an annual capacity of 150,000 zero-emission EVs.
Early this year, we signed a deal with Juffali Automotive Co. to move its facility from Jeddah to here. The company assembles Mercedes trucks.
Majid Matbouly, Head of the industrial valley at KAEC
“Those deals are very active; they might be announced very soon,” Piaia told Arab News in an exclusive interview.
An industry in making
Lucid Motors, backed by the Public Investment Fund, is delivering its first factory outside the US, which will make up half of the Kingdom’s plan to produce 300,000 vehicles annually by 2030.
“All focus today is to position the industrial valley as the automotive capital of the region,” Majid Matbouly, head of the industrial valley at KAEC, told Arab news.
The EV manufacturer aims to export 85 percent of its production outside the Kingdom, benefiting from the city’s port located on the Red Sea.
The megacity has a ready-built residential infrastructure for the future employees of Lucid Motors, which includes schools and recreational and entertainment avenues.
“The work on the Lucid facility has commenced. We already have people who have started to look for properties and accomodation here at KAEC to be located closer to their workplace,” Matbouly added.
KAEC is also strategically placed for auto companies, given its full-service commercial port and growing connectivity with other parts of the world.
“We believe that we are very well positioned. We have the King Abdullah port that can facilitate export and import. We are also connected to the rail that will link KAEC to Riyadh and Dammam,” said Piaia on the sidelines of Lucid Motor’s signing ceremony.
The soon-to-be megapolis is already home to a host of big names in the truck assembly sector, including Renault, Volvo and Rosenbauer.
“Early this year, we signed a deal with Juffali Automotive Co. to move its facility from Jeddah to here. The company assembles Mercedes trucks,” pointed out Matbouly.
Sustainable economic zones
Last year, Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih announced the Kingdom’s plan to launch special economic zones, including many logistics plants, one of them is in KAEC.
The city has also heavily invested in sustainability which could be a destination of choice for companies conscious of their environmental commitments.
“We welcome high-tech companies looking into sustainability; we are working toward providing green energy for their factories,” Piaia said.
KAEC is working with several partners to develop renewable energy sources, including solar and wind farms.
“We believe in environmental, social and governance and are applying to become a member of the United Nations Global Compact for sustainability as part of the Saudi Green initiative,” added Piaia.