Hyundai Motor Group will build a car plant in Saudi Arabia, joining electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors in producing cars in the oil-rich kingdom.
Hyundai will build the factory jointly with the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
The plant will have an annual production capacity of 50,000 electric and internal combustion engines and electric vehicles cars and will be the first South Korean automobile factory in the Middle East, a joint statement said.
PIF will hold a 70 percent stake in the new joint venture with Hyundai holding the remaining 30 percent. Total investment for the project is estimated to exceed $500 million.
“Hyundai will also act as a strategic technology partner to support the development of the new manufacturing plant, by providing technical and commercial assistance,” the joint statement said.
The plant groundbreaking is planned for 2024, and production is expected to begin in 2026. No details were given of the models which would be made there.
Hyundai will likely develop the facility at King Abdullah Economic City near Jeddah, according to Park Jiwoo, a senior manager at Hyundai’s external affairs team.
Developing a domestic auto industry centered around Jeddah is one part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plans to diversify the country’s oil-dependent economy.
The initiative is being spearheaded by the PIF, which invested in U.S.-based electric vehicle startup Lucid and got them to build their first international facility in Saudi Arabia.
The PIF has also created its own EV brand called Ceer, and is investing internationally and domestically to secure the metals and minerals required to develop a supply chain for the industry.