Saudi Arabia gets its first ever car maker

Gazal 1
The King Saud University (KSU) has announced a $US500 Million deal with South Korean based Digm Automotive Technologies (DAT) to establish Saudi Arabia’s first fully fledged car company.

The new joint venture, financed by KSU’s investment off-shoot Wadi al-Riyadh, DAT and a group of private investors, will produce a range of new models, the first of which will be an economical five-passenger sedan set go on sale in 2013 at prices between $US9300 and $US12,000.

“The move comes as part of the university’s efforts to transfer technology and establish a knowledge-based economy, said KSU President Abdullah Al-Othman, at a signing ceremony with Y.K Jeon, president of DAT.

At this stage it is unclear whether KSU’s earlier Mercedes-Benz G-class based Gazal 1 will be part of the new line-up of models, although an announcement by King Abdullah back in June indicated the big off-roader, designed by KSU students and Italy’s StudioTorino had already been granted a production greenlight.