Saudi Arabia has launched its first indigenously made car 'Ghazal', designed by engineers of the King Saud University to suit the needs of the harsh Gulf climate.
'Ghazal', named after a desert deer which is one of the fastest animals that can survive a harsh environment, was launched by Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh.
The car has been manufactured by engineers at King Saud University (KSU) and has been co-financed by the Ministry of Higher Education. It is designed to match the climate of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqari said that students of the university's Faculty of Engineering had been working on the project for the last two years. "What is achieved today is a clear proof of the ability of Saudi youth to make innovations and inventions... if they are provided with adequate facilities and given opportunities," the minister said.
He described the making of Ghazal 1 as a turning point for the Kingdom. "It also shows that we have capable people who can transform ideas into products of high economic value," he was quoted by the Saudi Press Agency as saying. The car is 4.8 meters long with a width of about 1. 9 meters and there are plans to manufacture 20,000 cars annually.
"This is a national strategic product and KSU holds its patent rights and intellectual property rights," he said after the unveiling ceremony on Monday.
Professor Said Darwish of KSU's industrial engineering department said the car model was based on tests of category development (wheelbase) in collaboration with several major companies such as Motorola, Mercedes and Magna Canada. The students were given full freedom to design.