RIYADH (Reuters) - Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) is examining the possibility of building a plant in Saudi Arabia to assemble Jaguar Land Rover Ltd TAMOJL.UL cars next to a new aluminium smelter, the Indian manufacturer's chairman said in a magazine interview on Friday.
Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and Middle East's largest economy, has for decades aimed at using its abundant natural resources to diversify its economy into complex industries.
"This smelter could make the production of aluminum in Saudi Arabia very competitive. So taking a really long-term view, if we put an assembly plant there with a large press shop, given our commitment to aluminum in our products, we could have an interesting business case which we are examining today," Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata said in remarks published in Autocar India.
The smelter is a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) 1211.SE and Alcoa Inc (AA.N) and is scheduled to start production in 2013.
Saudi Arabian industry benefits from low electricity prices thanks to low natural gas prices.
The conservative Islamic kingdom does not have an existing auto industry.
Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Mark Potter