Saudi Arabia drives towards an electric future

Global Insights
24 July 2023 Riyadh, KSA
  • Ceer, the country’s first electric vehicle brand, supports the Vision 2030 economic strategy
  • “We’re not just creating a car company: we are igniting an industry,” says CEO James DeLuca
  • Ceer reflects PIF’s commitment to shaping the future global economy
Saudi Arabia is revving up for a future focused on renewables, innovative transport and infrastructure, led by its Vision 2030 strategy, which centers on diversifying from oil into strategic sectors and the industries of tomorrow.
Ceer, Saudi Arabia’s first electric vehicle (EV) brand, supports this plan. The company – a joint venture between PIF and Foxconn, with BMW as a component technology provider – has plans to establish a manufacturing hub in a country with no history of mass car production.
With more than four decades of experience in the automotive sector, James DeLuca, CEO of Ceer, is thrilled to be at the helm of a company that aims to lead in the areas of infotainment, connectivity, and autonomy.
“When I joined General Motors in 1979, if you had told me that I would be here in Riyadh, creating a national automobile company, I wouldn’t have believed it,” DeLuca told PIF Global Insights. “We’re not just creating a car company: we are igniting an industry. And as such, we are helping to transform a nation.”
Certainly, the opportunities created through developing an EV ecosystem are manifold, with Ceer expected to attract talent, technology and more than $150 million of foreign direct investment, creating 30,000 direct and indirect high-quality jobs. 
“This is all about changing a country through mobility, through investment, through igniting the private sector. It’s all about job growth and economic diversification,” said DeLuca.
Ceer’s manufacturing facility will be located at King Abdullah Economic City, in close proximity to King Abdullah Port on Saudi Arabia’s west coast, and will cover more than 1 million square meters. “It will be a fully integrated complex, including press, body, paint, general assembly, and battery assembly,” said DeLuca.
This will kickstart an automotive industry that not only innovates cleaner cars, but reduces energy and water use, and minimizes waste in the manufacturing process.
What’s more, Ceer – which means “drive” or “go” in Arabic – will support Saudi Arabia’s target to reach net zero emissions by 2060. Electric vehicles will play a key role in decarbonizing the transportation sector, both in the Kingdom and throughout the wider region.
With PIF providing its investment, expertise and experience, DeLuca expects Ceer to be able to develop quickly, with its first cars set to go on sale in 2025. The company aims to both design and manufacture the first Saudi-branded electric vehicles, and is expected to directly contribute $8 billion to Saudi Arabia’s GDP by 2034. “PIF brings a level of expertise in areas such as governance, and they bring common processes and systems that enable us to move forward faster than we would be able to otherwise,” said DeLuca.
Ceer reflects PIF’s commitment to shaping the future global economy, while driving economic growth and transformation in the domestic market. “Ceer is the made-in-Saudi vehicle brand,” said DeLuca.