Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has formed a joint venture with Foxconn to build and sell electric cars, the latest move by the nation to meet 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 electric vehicles using BMW’s component technology, according to Thursday’s announcement. Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant that makes Apple’s iPhone, is developing the vehicle’s electric architecture, which Saudi Arabia says will lead to a “portfolio of products” in infotainment, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies.
The first electric cars from the Ceer brand are expected to hit the market in 2025.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund, or PIF, said Ceer is the country’s first electric brand and will attract more than $150 million in foreign direct investment and create up to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs. Foreign direct investment, or FDI, is a key part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Vision 2030 Plan. The country announced last year a national investment strategy to reach more than $100 billion in annual FDI by 2030.
The PIF also said the Ceer brand is expected to contribute $8 billion to the kingdom’s GDP by 2034.
PIF has made a number of its own investments in electric vehicles and other clean technologies. In 2018, PIF invests $1 billion in Lucid Motors, becoming its largest shareholder. PIF, which owns 61% of Lucid, made an initial commitment in the spring of 2022 to purchase 50,000 of Lucid’s electric vehicles with an option to purchase an additional 50,000 vehicles over the same 10-year time period.
Foxconn was going deeper into the automotive sector, especially around electric cars. Foxconn has struck deals to produce electric cars for Lordstown Motors and Fisker. It has also partnered with Taiwanese automaker Yulon Group to build an electric SUV called the Model C.
Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way said in October at its third annual Hon Hai Tech Day event that he wanted to replicate the company’s success in making consumer gadgets in making electric cars for automakers.