Japanese automotive manufacturer Kosei and Abdul Latif Jameel have signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia’s National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) to explore the manufacturing of aluminium wheels in the country.

The deal, the first major Saudi Arabian automotive components venture aimed at manufacturing goods for the export market, will see Abdul Latif Jameel, Kosei and NICDP undertake a feasibility study into manufacturing automotive aluminium die casting wheels and components.  This would contribute to the development of Saudi Arabia’s manufacturing industry – a key priority of Vision 2030.

Long-term plans for the venture include developing a new global hub for Kosei, contributed by Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), its first outside Japan and the United States.  The volume of wheels produced would represent a significant world market share and seem set to generate significant local employment opportunities.

Shunkichi Kamiya, CEO and President of Kosei, said at a ceremony to mark the agreement: “We are delighted to sign this MoU with NICDP and Abdul Latif Jameel to discover the enormous potential and various opportunities in Saudi Arabia, as well as the MENA region.  With the natural advantages possessed by Saudi Arabia combined with the technological contribution of Kosei, we hope to succeed in our ambition to contribute substantially to the development of the country’s manufacturing sector.”

Abdul Latif Jameel Vice Chairman and Deputy President, Hassan Jameel, said: “This MoU explores the exciting potential to bring manufacturing skills and jobs to Saudi Arabia and marks the first Saudi Arabian venture in large-scale automotive components manufacturing for export. The agreement is an important step in NICDP’s efforts to develop the manufacturing industry in Saudi Arabia in accordance with Saudi Vision 2030, and strives to make a valuable contribution to the Saudi automotive cluster.”

The signing comes ahead of an expected visit to Saudi Arabia by Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, and follows a visit by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in March 2017, during which Saudi Arabia and Japan agreed to deepen existing bilateral relations and establish a solid strategic partnership, as part of the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030.