Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has formed a joint venture with Foxconn to build and sell EVs, 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 EVs using BMW's component technology, according to Thursday's announcement. Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant that makes Apple’s iPhones, is developing the electrical architecture of the vehicles, which Saudi Arabia says will lead to a "portfolio of products" in the areas of infotainment, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies.
The first EVs from the Ceer brand are expected come to market in 2025.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund, or PIF, said Ceer is the nation's first EV 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 piece of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 plan. The country announced last year a national investment strategy to hit more than $100 billion annually in FDI by 2030.
The PIF also said the Ceer brand is projected to contribute $8 billion to the kingdom's GDP by 2034.
PIF has made a number of its own investments in EVs and other clean technology. In 2018, the PIF invested $1 billion into Lucid Motors, becoming its largest shareholder. The PIF, which owns 61% of Lucid, made an initial commitment in spring 2022 to buy 50,000 of Lucid’s EV with an option to purchase an additional 50,000 vehicles over that same 10-year time frame.
Foxconn has been pushing deeper into the automotive sector, particularly around EVs. Foxconn has landed deals to produce EVs for Lordstown Motors and Fisker. It 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 manufacturing consumer gadgets into producing EVs for automakers.