Saudi Arabia Builds A Budget Car

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
saudi arabia builds a budget car

When you think of cars and Saudi Arabia, you’d be forgiven for thinking of incredibly expensive European cars, typically modified in a particularly distasteful fashion by one of the more crass tuning houses. And indeed, the first Saudi-designed vehicle was a fairly garish SUV known as the Ghazal. But the second-ever Saudi-developed vehicle is actually a very modest, entry-level compact car, known as the Aseela (“Original” in Arabic). This strange little vehicle was developed by the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology’s National Program for Automobile Technology, and debuted this week at the Riyad Auto Show. According to

officials said it was to serve as the basis for a domestic auto manufacturing industry that Saudi Arabia is trying to develop

Yes Virginia, Saudi Arabia is trying to develop an auto manufacturing industry. Well, sort of. According to the report, the Saudis plan on building a $16m production line which will build between 2,000 and 5,000 of the $13,000 Aseelas per year… which makes this more of a “hobby project” than a true “industry.” By contrast, the plan is to build 20k of the ghastly Ghazals over the next three years, at a cost of about half a billion dollars. But then, Saudi Arabia might be one of the few countries where an ugly SUV would fare better than an inoffensive little compact.

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  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Dec 09, 2010

    If 15k rate is a hobby, what is Tesla?

  • Dave-the-rave Dave-the-rave on Dec 10, 2010

    It will only sell if the design is 'tres sheik.'

  • Gessvt Gessvt on Dec 10, 2010

    Recently replaced Chevy Cobalt sedan, is that you?

  • Panzerfaust Panzerfaust on Dec 10, 2010

    Saudi Arabia developing ANY industry is a joke. When I participated in the Southwest Asia wargames (first place!) the Saudi's I met wouldn't do anything that they could pay someone else to do, and as posted above had little to no work ethic. These weren't oil rich shieks either. Most of the key engineering and technical work in Saudia Arabia military or civilian was done by westerners, the construction by Koreans, Thai's, and Pakistanis. I found out that the Saudi Royals refuse to do a census, because they don't want anyone to know how many infidels actually do live in the land of Mecca and Medina. So if they do develop an auto industry it will be designed, constructed managed and the cars built by westerners and people from the Pacific rim with the Saudi's having a figurehead prince here or there to show that they're really in charge.