• Dec 27, 2010
King Saud University Gazal-1 – Click above for a high-res image gallery

Few took them seriously when the students of King Saud University unveiled their first design in Geneva last March. But the Saudi institute of higher education is reportedly putting their plans to begin producing their own line of automobiles into high gear.

According to Reuters, the project is being undertaken by the university's investment arm, Wadi al-Riyadh Technology, with technical and financial support from an as-yet undisclosed South Korean firm. Could Hyundai/Kia be behind the effort? Hard to say, but whoever it is, they're tipped to be putting up 30 percent of the cash, in addition to the technical know-how. The university is set to put in as much as 15 percent of the capital needed, while the rest is reportedly being offered to outside investments. Altogether, the project is budgeted at $500 million.

The outfit's first vehicle will reportedly be "an economic car suitable for local use," as opposed to the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen-based SUV concept pictured above. Spokespeople say they hope to offer the vehicle in other countries in the region, including the Gulf emirates and North African countries.

The development is peculiar for a number of reasons, namely that (a) Saudi Arabia, though the largest economy in the Arab world, is not known as an automobile producing or exporting country, and (b) most cars are not built by universities. Still, if any country has the oil money to pull it off, it's surely Saudi Arabia.



[Source: Reuters]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice idea.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Most likely Ssangyong or GM-Daewoo.

      • 4 Years Ago
      It gets 4mpg. Not because it has to but because it can. Welcome to The Kingdom: Where gas is literally the cheapest liquid you can buy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      All that money from selling oil... and they can't make a car that looks better than that?

      I would have to say that Ssangyong has played a roll in this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Perhaps the university students are learning business processes, management techniques, industrial design, line production management and, some will learn traditional trade disciplines by using their hands to build things.

      This could be a win/win for everyone involved.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @SDQuattro

        Which is a good thing. It's better than being unemployed like in countries like the US.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Build it?, not too likely, they'll bring in Indians and Pakistanis to do the dirty work.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Whoever draw that green thing, pass that pen to the next guy. Yes, even if he's blind!
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's quite presumptive of you to assume that this designer isn't blind.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Most cars are not built by universities."

      Yet.

      Considering the kind of money some of the Universities here in the states generate from football (Alabama, Texas, USC, Penn State, Notre Dame, Auburn, to name a few),I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them get together and start their own car-making business. No kidding here.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Auburn pays their players.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hey, come to the U.S.A , its the land of the oportunity, just ask hyundai.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Are women going to be allowed to drive it?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Santa Giulianna Falconieri!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This Gazal 1 SUV looks like a cross between the Ssangyong Korango (the 2nd gen Mercedes based SUV, not the 1st gen Jeep CJ derivative) and a Dodge Durango.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Korando, not Korango.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is impolite to laugh on a public forum . . .


      Hrrumph! Heh, heh! Bwahahaaaaa!!!

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