Saudi Arabia imported 981,000 cars in 2012 valued SR77 billion ($20.5 billion), or 13 percent of total Saudi imports in that year, local media said quoting data released by Saudi Industrial Development Fund ( SIDF ). At the average, the Kingdom imported 679,000 cars per year during in the last seven years (2005-2012), at the annual growth rate of 9.5 percent, the report said. The SIDF 's annual report, which dealt with the future of car industry in the Kingdom and its impact on the national economy, cited a number of reasons for the growing demand on cars, including big population growth that stands at 3.7 percent per year, enormous purchasing power and young category of Saudi community, which represents 21 percent of the total population.
The Kingdom is considered a major car and spare parts re-export hub in the region thanks to its outstanding geographical position, the report said. The value of car and spare part re-exports for the year 2012 hit nearly SR6 billion, or at annual growth rate of 13 percent for the period 2005-2012, which makes it a core for the entry of Saudi auto products into nearby markets, according to the report. The Kingdom has strong industrial and infrastructure base, which is a key stimulus to set up car industry in the Kingdom taking into consideration its experiences on the manufacture of vehicles or parts or assembling certain buses, fire fighting, ambulance, or hydraulic cleaning vehicles in addition to spare parts, metal frames, gear boxes, filters, radiators, exhausts, tires, batteries, auto class, the report said.
Based on data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, there are more than 251 plants engaged in assembling vehicles and related industries with investments valued at SR7 billion employing more than 27,000 workers. Of the above figure, the SIDF -funded plants stood at 65 projects at the value of SR1.5 billion by the end of 2012, the report said.