Revitalizing the Automotive Industry Electric Vehicle Surge Sparks Economic Growth in Saudi Arabia and Dubai

June 27, 2023

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The automotive industry in Saudi Arabia and Dubai is undergoing a remarkable transformation as the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) takes center stage. With a strong focus on reducing carbon emissions, diversifying their economies, and promoting sustainable mobility, these Middle Eastern powerhouses are embracing the electric revolution. This shift towards EVs is not only driving economic growth but also positioning both Saudi Arabia and Dubai as key players in the global automotive market. From government initiatives supporting EV infrastructure to the rise of domestic automotive brands and the push for greener transportation

Who are the key players in Saudi Arabian and Dubai's automotive industry?

Key Players in Saudi Arabian and Dubai's Automotive Industry

  1. Saudi Arabia:
    1. Ceer: An electric vehicle (EV) maker based in Saudi Arabia. The company plans to design, manufacture, and sell a range of vehicles for consumers in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region.
    2. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF): It has backed several initiatives in the EV market, including a joint venture with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to establish Ceer and an investment in Lucid Motors.
    3. Lucid Motors: A California-based EV maker backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The company has signed an agreement with the kingdom’s government for the sale of 100,000 cars that will support Riyadh’s sustainability drive and is building its first overseas production factory in Saudi Arabia.
  2. Dubai/UAE:
    1. Tesla: Tesla officially entered the UAE market in 2017. The company's electric vehicles are available, and Tesla has developed a network of Superchargers across the country.
    2. General Motors: The automaker, with its Chevrolet and GMC brands, has a significant presence in the UAE. General Motors Africa & Middle East operates from Dubai.
    3. Al-Futtaim Automotive: One of the most prominent automotive groups in the UAE, they are exclusive distributors for popular automotive brands such as Toyota, Lexus, Hino, Honda, Volvo, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and RAM.
    4. Al Habtoor Motors: A distributor of several major car brands in the UAE, including Mitsubishi, Bentley, Bugatti, and McLaren.
    5. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA): DEWA has been actively involved in the promotion and infrastructure development for electric vehicles in Dubai. In collaboration with various partners, DEWA has installed numerous EV charging stations across the city as part of its EV Green Charger initiative.
    6. Roads and Transport Authority (RTA): In line with Dubai's Smart City initiative, RTA has launched several projects to promote the use of electric vehicles, including a fleet of Tesla electric taxis.
    7. Nissan Middle East: Nissan has a strong presence in the UAE, offering several models including the Nissan Leaf, an electric vehicle.
    8. BMW Group Middle East: BMW, along with its sub-brand MINI, has a significant presence in the UAE market with a range of vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and all-electric models.

The above list includes some of the key players in the automotive industry in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and there are many other companies contributing to the automotive industry in the UAE and Dubai. Additionally, as the push towards electric vehicles (EVs) and sustainable transportation continues, this list will likely evolve and expand.

How many cars are sold each year in Saudi Arabia & Dubai?

In 2022, the Saudi vehicle market experienced significant growth, totaling 625,767 sales, marking the highest figure in six years.

This represented a notable 7.1 percent increase compared to the previous year.

December of that year showcased the continuation of this upward trend, with 62,556 new registrations, reflecting a substantial growth rate of 28.2 percent.

Dubai, being a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, has a robust automotive market that attracts both local and international car buyers.

With a focus on luxury and high-performance vehicles, Dubai serves as a prominent destination for automotive enthusiasts.

Furthermore, the IEA report highlights that electric cars' market share has steadily risen, accounting for around 14 percent of overall car sales globally in 2022. This figure is expected to increase to 18 percent in 2023. It is important to note that the majority of electric car sales are concentrated in three key markets: China, Europe, and the United States.

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Dubai
  • China holds the largest share, accounting for 60 percent of global electric car sales in 2022.
  • Europe and the United States, the second and third-largest markets respectively, witnessed significant growth in electric car sales in 2022, with Europe experiencing a 15 percent increase and the United States seeing a substantial 55 percent rise.
  • Other regions, such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand, also witnessed notable growth, with electric car sales tripling in India and Indonesia and doubling in Thailand.

Moreover, the IEA report highlights the importance of electrifying not only cars but also other forms of transportation, such as buses and trucks. It notes that in developing economies like India, electric three-wheeler vehicles are gaining popularity due to their affordability and contribution to sustainable development.

Overall, the automotive market in Saudi Arabia and Dubai is witnessing growth, with a rising emphasis on electric vehicles aligning with global trends. As the transition towards sustainable mobility continues, these regions are expected to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the automotive industry.

Adoption of Electric Vehicles in Saudi Arabia & Dubai

In Saudi Arabia, this change is being driven by the government's Vision 2030 plan, which seeks to reduce the country's reliance on oil and move toward a more sustainable future. The Saudi government is investing heavily in the development of EV charging infrastructure, with a plan to install 50,000 charging stations across the country by 2025. Major global automotive brands have noticed the increasing demand for EVs in Saudi and have expanded their offerings accordingly.

Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, is also rapidly adopting electric vehicles. The city offers various incentives for electric car owners, such as free parking, free toll passes, and discounts on registration fees. Electric vehicles are also becoming more commonplace on the city's streets.

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Dubai

What is Ceer?

Ceer is a Saudi Arabian electric vehicle (EV) maker. It's a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, announced in 2022. The company plans to design, manufacture, and sell a range of vehicles for consumers in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, including sedans and sports utility vehicles. The vehicles are planned to be designed and built in Saudi Arabia, which could significantly boost the country’s domestic manufacturing sector.

Ceer is an emerging player in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, based in Saudi Arabia. Here are some key points about the company:

  1. Joint Venture: Ceer is a joint venture established between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the Taiwanese manufacturer, Foxconn. The company was officially announced in 2022.
  2. Domestic EV Manufacturing: Ceer is set to become a domestic manufacturer of electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia. It signifies an important step towards the development of the EV manufacturing industry within the country.
  3. Vehicle Range: Ceer aims to design, manufacture, and sell a diverse range of vehicles, catering to consumers in Saudi Arabia and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The range is expected to include various types of vehicles, including sedans and sports utility vehicles.
  4. Local Manufacturing: One of the significant aspects of Ceer's operation is that the vehicles are planned to be designed and built within Saudi Arabia. This move is expected to boost the country's domestic manufacturing sector.
  5. Contribution to Vision 2030: The establishment and operations of Ceer align with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan. The company supports the nation's shift towards a more sustainable future and reduces reliance on oil by promoting electric vehicles.
  6. Impact on Economy: Besides the environmental benefits, Ceer's presence is likely to positively impact the Saudi economy by creating jobs, fostering technical expertise, and encouraging foreign direct investment.
  7. Global Partnerships: Through its relationship with Foxconn, Ceer benefits from world-class expertise and established manufacturing capabilities, helping it establish a strong foothold in the competitive electric vehicle market.

Is the automotive market growing in the Middle East?

- Presence of high-net-worth individuals in the Middle East.

- Growing population with increasing purchasing power.

- Demand for both economy and luxury vehicles.

- Efforts to diversify economies beyond oil.

- Focus on developing the automotive sector, including EVs.

- Supportive policies and incentives for automotive industry growth.

- Emphasis on sustainability and reducing carbon emissions.

- Increasing demand for EVs in the region.

- Investments in EV infrastructure by countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

- Rise in local production of vehicles.

- Establishment of manufacturing facilities by companies like Lucid Motors and Ceer.

- Aiming to cater to local and regional demand for vehicles.

- Growth of app-based mobility services (e.g., Uber, Careem).

- Increased demand for vehicles to support ride-hailing services.

- Contributing to the overall growth of the automotive market.

- Recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Pent-up demand leading to increased vehicle sales.

- Positive signs of market rebound and growth in the region.

  1. Rising Affluence
  2. Government Initiatives
  3. Electric Vehicles
  4. Regional Production
  5. Mobility Services
  6. Post-Pandemic Recovery

These factors collectively indicate a growing and promising automotive market in the Middle East.

Top Automotive Companies in Saudi Arabia

Company Size: Ceer is an emerging automotive company in Saudi Arabia.

Popular Model Names: Ceer is yet to launch its first product, so specific model names are not mentioned.

Year Founded: Ceer was announced as a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Foxconn in 2022.

Owner/Director Names: The ownership of Ceer is shared between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Foxconn.

Company Size: Lucid Motors is an established automotive company.

Popular Model Names: Lucid Motors produces electric vehicles, with their flagship model being the "Lucid Air."

Year Founded: Lucid Motors was founded in 2007.

Owner/Director Names: Lucid Motors is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Company Size: General Motors is a global automotive company with a presence in Saudi Arabia.

Popular Model Names: General Motors offers various popular models, including Chevrolet and GMC vehicles.

Year Founded: General Motors was founded in 1908.

  1. Ceer
  2. Lucid Motors
  3. General Motors (GM)

Top Automotive Companies in Dubai/UAE

Company Size: Tesla is a prominent electric vehicle (EV) company.

Popular Model Names: Tesla offers popular models such as the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y.

Year Founded: Tesla was founded in 2003.

Owner/Director Names: Elon Musk is the CEO and owner of Tesla.

Company Size: BMW is a renowned automotive company with a presence in Dubai/UAE.

Popular Model Names: BMW offers various popular models, including the 3 Series, 5 Series, and X5.

Year Founded: BMW was founded in 1916.

Company Size: Nissan is a major automotive company operating in Dubai/UAE.

Popular Model Names: Nissan offers popular models such as the Altima, Maxima, and Patrol.

Year Founded: Nissan was founded in 1933.

  1. Tesla
  2. BMW
  3. Nissan

What is the market share of domestic automotive brands in Saudi Arabia and Dubai?

Market Share of Domestic Automotive Brands in Saudi Arabia

  1. Ceer is the first Saudi automotive brand to produce electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia. As a domestic brand, it aims to design, manufacture, and sell a range of vehicles for consumers in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region.
  2. Saudi Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Development Initiative (SEVCIDI): This initiative, launched in 2021, sets a target of installing 50,000 charging stations across Saudi
  3. Arabia by 2025. The development of such infrastructure supports the growth and adoption of electric vehicles, including domestic brands.

Market Share of Domestic Automotive Brands in Dubai/UAE

The presence of various international automotive companies operating in Dubai/UAE, such as Tesla, BMW, and Nissan.

It is important to note that Dubai/UAE's automotive market is known for its diverse range of international brands, and the presence of domestic automotive brands may be relatively smaller compared to international counterparts.

Government Initiatives and Policies Supporting the Automotive Industry in Saudi Arabia

The Vision 2030 plan, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to diversify the country's non-oil economy and reduce its dependence on oil. It includes several initiatives and policies that support the growth of the automotive industry, such as:

The government has made significant investments in the development of the EV sector, including partnerships with international EV manufacturers and the establishment of a domestic EV brand, Ceer.

The Saudi Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Development Initiative (SEVCIDI) was launched to install 50,000 charging stations across the country by 2025, enhancing the accessibility and convenience of EV charging.

The government aims to develop a domestic automotive manufacturing industry, attracting foreign direct investments and creating job opportunities. Initiatives like the joint venture between Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Foxconn to establish Ceer's manufacturing facility contribute to this objective.

The Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources grants industrial licenses to automotive companies, enabling them to build manufacturing facilities and contribute to the growth of the automotive sector.

The automotive industry is emphasized within Saudi Arabia's national industrial strategy as a strategic sector that supports diversification goals and stimulates other priority sectors such as minerals and chemicals. The development of the automotive manufacturing industry is expected to drive knowledge transfer, industry localization, and the creation of job opportunities for Saudi citizens.

  1. Vision 2030
  2. Investment in Electric Vehicles (EVs)
  3. Infrastructure Development
  4. Domestic Manufacturing
  5. Industrial Licensing
  6. National Industrial Strategy

Government Initiatives and Policies Supporting the Automotive Industry in Dubai/UAE

The Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 aims to establish Dubai as a global hub for knowledge-based, sustainable, and innovation-focused industries, including the automotive sector. Key initiatives include:

The strategy encourages the adoption of advanced technologies in manufacturing, including electric and autonomous vehicles.

The government promotes R&D activities and innovation in the automotive sector to enhance competitiveness and drive technological advancements.

The Dubai government provides various incentives to attract automotive companies and encourage industry growth, including:

Automotive companies can benefit from setting up operations in free zones, which offer tax exemptions, customs duty exemptions, and 100% foreign ownership.

Dubai supports the growth of automotive startups through initiatives like the Dubai Future Accelerators program, which provides funding, mentorship, and access to resources.

The government invests in infrastructure, including road networks and charging stations, to support the adoption of electric and sustainable vehicles.

  1. Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030
  2. Advanced Technology Adoption
  3. Investment in Research and Development (R&D)
  4. Government Incentives
  5. Free Zone Benefits
  6. Support for Startups
  7. Infrastructure Development

These government initiatives and policies demonstrate the commitment of both Saudi Arabia and Dubai/UAE to promote and support the growth of the automotive industry through various strategic measures.

What is the contribution of the automotive industry to the GDP of Saudi Arabia and Dubai?

- Ceer, the first Saudi automotive brand, aims to directly contribute 30 billion Saudi Riyals (Rs 65,820 crore) to Saudi Arabia's GDP by 2034.

- The development of a national automotive sector in Saudi Arabia is expected to have direct economic benefits, including foreign direct investment (FDI), job creation, and contributions to the non-oil economy.

- The automotive manufacturing industry is considered a catalyst for other priority sectors, such as minerals and chemicals, aligning with the country's diversification goals and ability to export to neighboring markets.

- However, Dubai is known for its vibrant automotive sector and plays a significant role in the overall economy of the UAE.

- The automotive industry in Dubai/UAE contributes to job creation, economic diversification, and the growth of related sectors such as logistics, transportation, and tourism.

- The government's focus on advanced technologies, including electric and autonomous vehicles, indicates the importance of the automotive industry in driving innovation and economic development.

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Dubai/UAE

It's worth noting that for a comprehensive and accurate assessment of the automotive industry's contribution to the GDP of Saudi Arabia and Dubai, specific statistical data and reports from relevant sources such as government publications, industry reports, and economic studies would provide more precise figures.

What are the economic benefits and challenges associated with the adoption of electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia and Dubai?

Addressing these challenges requires collaboration between government entities, manufacturers, charging infrastructure providers, and stakeholders. Supportive policies, investments in infrastructure, consumer education, and partnerships with international manufacturers can accelerate electric vehicle adoption in the Middle East.


  1. Economic Benefits of Electric Vehicle Adoption
    1. Reduced Dependency on Fossil Fuels: Electric vehicles (EVs) help reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, as they rely on electricity as their primary source of energy. This can enhance energy security and decrease reliance on volatile global oil markets.
    2. Environmental Sustainability: EVs have lower or zero tailpipe emissions, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. This contributes to environmental sustainability and helps address climate change concerns.
    3. Economic Diversification: The adoption of EVs supports economic diversification efforts by promoting the growth of the automotive industry, attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), and creating new job opportunities in manufacturing, charging infrastructure development, and related sectors.
    4. Technological Innovation: EVs drive technological innovation and advancements, particularly in battery technologies, electric drivetrains, and charging infrastructure. This fosters the growth of a skilled workforce and promotes research and development (R&D) activities.
    5. Cost Savings and Efficiency: EVs can offer lower operating costs compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, primarily due to lower fuel costs and reduced maintenance requirements. They are also more energy-efficient, utilizing electricity more effectively than traditional vehicles.
  2. Challenges Associated with Electric Vehicle Adoption
    1. Limited Charging Infrastructure:
      • Insufficient network of charging stations, including fast-charging options.
      • Need for investments in developing a comprehensive and convenient charging infrastructure.
    2. Range Anxiety:
      • Concerns about limited driving range and availability of charging stations.
      • Overcoming range anxiety requires longer driving ranges, improved battery technology, and expanded charging infrastructure.
    3. High Initial Cost:
      • Higher upfront cost of electric vehicles compared to conventional vehicles.
      • Potential deterrent for buyers, especially in price-sensitive markets.
      • Government incentives, subsidies, or tax breaks can help reduce the cost barrier.
    4. Limited Model Availability:
      • Relatively limited selection of electric vehicle models in the Middle East market.
      • Greater variety and options from different manufacturers needed to increase consumer choice.
    5. Lack of Consumer Awareness and Education:
      • Limited knowledge and awareness about electric vehicles and their benefits.
      • Importance of educating consumers about lower operating costs and reduced emissions.
    6. Extreme Temperatures:
      • Hot climates in the Middle East can affect battery performance and efficiency.
      • Robust battery thermal management systems required to ensure optimal performance and prevent degradation.
    7. Sustainable Energy Generation:
      • Electric vehicles' environmental benefits depend on the use of renewable energy sources.
      • Development of sustainable energy generation infrastructure, such as solar or wind power, needed.


    1. Revving up the EV market in the Middle East: Opportunities and challenges ahead
    2. Annual vehicle sales in the United Arab Emirates from 2010 to 2019
    3. Saudi Arabia’s first EV brand Ceer to contribute Rs 65,820 crore to the country’s GDP by 2034
    4. Electric vehicle demand booms in Saudi Arabia amid move to green mobility
    5. Lucid raising $3 billion with more money from Saudi owners

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China holds the largest share, accounting for 60 percent of global electric car sales in 2022.

Ceer is a Saudi Arabian electric vehicle (EV) maker. It's a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, announced in 2022.


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