Economic transformation through automotive innovation - Middle East News 247
July 16, 2024
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Economic transformation through automotive innovation

Driving towards a sustainable future, the Saudi Arabian automotive industry is rapidly evolving under the ambitious Vision 2030 framework. This is according to Eng. Aftab Ahmed, Chief Advisor -Automotive Cluster, National Industrial Development Centre (NIDC), Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, who was speaking at the 6th edition of Automechanica Riyadh, which continued today at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center (RICEC).

Eng. Ahmed detailed the Kingdom’s strategic approach to enhancing its automotive industry and emphasised its innovative practices, international partnerships, and commitment to environmental sustainability as key drivers propelling the sector forward. Saudi Arabia is shaping a future-ready automotive market through transformative initiatives such as embracing King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) as an auto cluster with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers such as Ceer, Lucia and Hyundai already in residence, with others on the way.

Underscoring the critical role of the automotive sector in realising the economic diversification goals, Eng. Ahmed said: “Saudi Arabia has the commitment and the resources to transform into an industrial-based economy and raise the share of non-oil exports in non-oil GDP from 16% to 50%.

The NIDC’s strategy is to immediately invest in full-scale manufacturing projects in light vehicles for the regional and global markets in 2026-2027 and in Fuel Cell Electric projects for commercial vehicles by 2030. This is in tandem with the automotive parts ecosystem, which should focus on parts shared between BEV and Ice-based vehicles.

The session also covered the importance of partnerships and global collaborations in enhancing the local industry’s capabilities through a supplier ecosystem with 40%+ local gross value added, a 66,000+ strong ecosystem of jobs, and a US$7 billion automotive industry GDP.

Also speaking at the Automechanika Academy, Mr. Ammar Altaf, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Investment, highlighted: “The Kingdom has embarked on an ambitious strategy that is no longer a strategy on paper, but we can see it being implemented on the ground.

“Our target is to have 600,000 vehicles manufactured in the Kingdom by 2035, with a SAR 22 billion impact on our GDP—last year alone, we announced a SAR 12 million investment by Lucid Group and a SAR 27 billion investment by Ceer, the national brand of EVs, to be launched towards the end of 2026. Combined, these two factories we aspire to manufacture around 320,000 vehicles.”

Under the patronage of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Investment, Automechanika Riyadh 2024 has witnessed record-setting participation of more than 340 exhibitors from 26 countries, expanding over three halls and 11,000 square metres. This edition has seen a 448% increase in exhibitors, a strong indicator of the event’s pivotal role in the automotive industry.

The event, which is expected to attract over 8,000 visitors and feature six international pavilions, also includes the Premium Club, which is integral to fostering invaluable industry connections. Additionally, a targeted workshop on the final day will highlight the enduring value of professional development in automotive aftersales.

The 6th edition of Automechanika Riyadh, which will continue on Thursday, 2 May, showcases seven key product focus areas: Parts & Components, Tyres & Batteries, Oils & Lubricants, Accessories & Customising, Diagnostics & Repairs, Body & Paint, and Care & Wash. The event is organised by 1st Arabia Tradeshows & Conferences under a license from Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.

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    Middle East News 247

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