Saudi investments in the automobile industry are likely to create more than 77,000 jobs, said Mohammed Al-Madhi, vice chairman and CEO of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation.
He said SABIC, a world leader in plastic technology, has launched a number of new projects that would support the development of a viable auto industry in the Kingdom.
"These projects will help Saudi Arabia attract investment from the world's major automobile manufacturers and create real platforms to make auto spare parts," he said.
The SR81 billion SABIC projects launched by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah last week would support downstream industries, especially automobile, mineral and solar energy sectors, he said.
"Another important aspect of these projects is that it would create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs for Saudis," Al-Madhi said while stressing his company's plan to employ more Saudis.
Ibrahim Badawood, managing director of ALJ Community Initiatives, said the auto industry, like other manufacturing sectors, would create more job opportunities for Saudis. Speaking to Arab News, he emphasized the need for training more Saudis to develop the auto industry. More than 2,500 Saudis have passed out from the Saudi-Japanese Automobile High Institute during the past 10 years, he added.
Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of cars and automotive parts in the Middle East and a gateway for distribution to the broader Middle East and North Africa region.
New passenger car sales in 2012 were more than 700,000 units, an increase of 18 percent over the previous year, according to a recent report by Business Monitor International. Driving this demand is a rising level of disposable income and a large youth population with two-thirds of citizens under 30.