Luxury electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors Inc. has an undisclosed commitment to build a dedicated EV assembly facility in Saudi Arabia. The commitment was reportedly made after the company accepted over $1 billion in financing from the Saudi Pacific Fund in 2018.
News of Lucid’s reported electric vehicle plant in Saudi was initially reported by The Wall Street Journal. Citing people familiar with the matter, the publication noted that at least one prominent institutional investor that was part of Lucid’s SPAC deal had been made aware of the company’s Saudi Arabia plans.
The PIF, a Saudi Arabia sovereign-wealth fund, initially invested over $1 billion in Lucid Motors in 2018. The PIF also agreed to provide more funding through the electric vehicle maker’s SPAC merger, with the fund producing $600 million in bridge financing, as per comments from CEO Peter Rawlinson last month. The PIF currently stands as one of Lucid’s largest shareholders.
As per the Journal’s sources, Lucid’s electric vehicle plant commitment to Saudi Arabia could be an expensive endeavor that costs several hundreds of millions of dollars. This is partly due to Saudi Arabia not being optimized for car manufacturing, which could result in many of Lucid’s parts being imported. The WSJ’s sources noted that these factors could potentially double the costs at the upcoming Saudi plant.
To make its Saudi plant a reality, Lucid executives are reportedly pushing for more incentives to help cover the costs of the pant, as well as the inherent inefficiencies that the facility’s buildout would likely experience. Senior PIF executives, for their part, are reportedly encouraging Lucid to stand by its 2018 commitment.
When asked about the topic, a Lucid Motors spokesperson noted that the electric vehicle maker is expecting to “establish manufacturing facilities in multiple geographies, including Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and potentially Europe in the coming years.” However, the spokesperson also highlighted that the company’s near-term priority is to start the production of the Air at its Arizona plant.
Over the years, the PIF has attempted to attract high-profile companies to invest in possible Saudi Arabia-based facilities. Among the most notable was Japanese carmaker Toyota, which was courted by the Middle Eastern country a few years ago as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to create jobs for the younger generation. Following talks, however, the veteran automaker declined the offer, reportedly due to high labor costs, a small domestic market, and a lack of local supplies.
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