As the world's largest exporter of oil and refined oil products, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has long had an important role in the global automotive industry. This is likely to continue: according to new figures from BP, Saudi Arabia has around 265 billion barrels of oil reserves, almost a fifth of the world total of 1.38 trillion. Other estimates put KSA's share at up to a quarter.
Saudi Arabia is also a major consumer of cars and trucks, all currently imported. Saudis are expected to buy around 759,000 new cars in 2011, and up to 1 million cars a year by 2020. There is strong demand for trucks too, buoyed in part by the country's booming construction sector.
Against this strong background, the Government's Ministry of Petroleum & Minerals and Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) are committed to developing a Saudi Arabian Automotive cluster, encompassing car, truck and bus: R&D; design; components; sub-systems and sub-assemblies, full vehicle assembly; and logistics.
At the heart of this drive is the Industrial Clusters program (IC). This aims to:
- Encourage and support further Saudi Arabian and foreign investment in the sector
- Make KSA a major player in vehicle development and production
- Reduce imports and increase exports
- Create and sustain employment
- Assist with national economic diversification
Industrial Clusters is also developing clusters in Plastics and Packaging, Minerals and Metal processing, and Solar Energy, which will both benefit and benefit from the Automotive cluster.