gazal 1

It looks like Saudi Arabia is really intent on developing automotive manufacturing in the country, and in a big way. First, there was the Gazal 1 G-Class-based SUV – as seen above – from earlier in the year, developed by students from King Saud University. Then came the Aseelah, a design based on the Proton Persona which is slated for production in the Kingdom sometime in the near future.

Now, the latest news is that Saudi Arabia is planning to start up its first car manufacturing company, working together with a South Korean automaker. With US$500 mil worth of capital investment, the new venture is expected to deliver a prototype of an economic car suitable for local use within the next two years, according to a report from the state’s news agency SPA.

A MOU was signed recently between King Saud University and the South Korean company, Digm Automotive Technologies. Up to 15% of the financing will be provided by Wadi al-Riyadh Technology, the university’s investment arm, and 30% by Digm Automotive, with the remainder covered by investors, the report added. It also said that there are plans to export the first car to other Gulf states as well as North African countries.