The Jaguar Land Rover project is in its advanced stages and the final deal to set up the factory to make cars in the industrial city of Yanbu will be initialled in due course, according to Azzam Shibli, president of the National Program of Industrial Development in the Ministry of Trade.
An agreement was signed with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in December, 2012 to set up the factory in Saudi Arabia, he said and denied reports that the Jaguar company had stopped the project.
“There is a timetable for completion, which has not been made public. but the project is in advanced stages.”
The project is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia to produce sedan cars.
These are to be the latest under the sports Land Rover label made of aluminum for Middle East and international markets.
The project in the Yanbu industrial city costing SR 4.5 billion to produce 50,000 cars annually would require 4,500 workers and start operating by the beginning of 2017.
Shibli said there are companies from Asia who are also interested in car manufacturing in Saudi Arabia, with some of the studies in progress.
Jaguar Land Rover said the factory in Saudi Arabia will not affect the company’s production in Britain and other countries, however 30 percent of the total cars is eventually expected to be produced in Yanbu.
Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the Kingdom imports more than 600,000 cars per year at SR 110 billion, 1 percent of total global production, while there is a growth rate of 6 percent for cars in the Kingdom per year.
He pointed out Saudi Arabia aspires to be among the top ranking advanced industrial countries, especially since industrial growth in the past 15 years was twice the rate of the gross national product.
Reproduced with permission from Arab News