Lucid to build electric cars in Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia isn’t exactly known for car manufacturing but that’s set to change after an agreement on a new plant was reached between Lucid and officials of the Middle Eastern nation.

Lucid announced on Monday that it reached an agreement to construct a plant in Saudi Arabia to deliver cars both to the local market and export. Construction is expected to start in the first half of 2022 but Lucid hasn’t said when the plant will be operational.

Lucid has a plant in Casa Grande, Arizona, which currently builds the Air sedan. The Saudi plant is expected to have an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles, while the U.S. plant, when fully expanded, is expected to have a capacity of 365,000 vehicles.

Lucid Saudi Arabia rendering

Lucid Saudi Arabia rendering

The electric-vehicle startup’s main shareholder is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund (PIF), so the location of the new plant isn’t a huge surprise. According to rumors, the PIF only invested in Lucid on the condition the company established a plant in Saudi Arabia. The country is investing in several new industries to reduce its dependence on oil.

Lucid isn’t the first automaker linked with Saudi Arabia on car manufacturing. In 2012, Jaguar Land Rover conducted a feasibility study for possible production in Saudi Arabia but didn’t proceed further.

The news comes as Lucid slashed its production target for 2022 from 20,000 units to between 12,000 and 14,000 units, citing supply chain constraints. The company has also pushed back its second model, the Gravity SUV, to the first half of 2024, instead of an originally planned launch in 2023.

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