Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has formed a joint venture with Foxconn to build and sell electric vehicles, the country’s latest step towards achieving its Vision 2030 goal of reducing its dependence on oil and diversifying its economy.
the new company, called Ceer, will design, manufacture and sell a portfolio of EVs using BMW’s component technology, according to Thursday’s announcement. Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant that makes Apple’s iPhones, is developing the electric architecture of the vehicles, which Saudi Arabia says will lead to a “portfolio of products” in infotainment, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies.
The first Ceer brand EVs are expected to hit the market in 2025.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund, or PIF, said Ceer is the country’s first EV brand and will attract more than $150 million in FDI and create up to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs. Foreign direct investment, or FDI, is an important part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Vision 2030 plan. The country last year announced a national investment strategy to reach more than $100 billion annually in foreign direct investment by 2030.
The PIF also said that the Ceer brand is expected to contribute $8 billion to the kingdom’s GDP by 2034.
PIF has made some of its own investments in EVs and other clean technology. In 2018, the PIF invested $1 billion in Lucid Motors, becoming its largest shareholder. The PIF, which owns 61% of Lucid, has made an initial commitment to purchase 50,000 of Lucid’s EV in the spring of 2022 with an option to purchase an additional 50,000 vehicles over the same 10-year period.
Foxconn has been diving deeper into the auto industry, particularly around EVs. Foxconn has made deals to produce EVs for Lordstown Motors and Fisker. It also partnered with Taiwanese automaker Yulon Group to build an electric SUV, the Model C.
Foxconn chairman Liu Young-way said in October at his third annual Hon Hai Tech Day event that he wanted to replicate the company’s success in consumer gadget manufacturing in producing EVs for automakers.