Neo Motors, Morocco’s first car manufacturer, organized today a ceremony to celebrate the sale of its first car at its factory in Ain Aouda.
In the presence of the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, the first NEO cars were symbolically handed over to their owners.“We proudly celebrate the delivery of the first vehicles from the Moroccan brand Neo,” Mezzour said on the sidelines of the ceremony.
For Mezzour, the success of Neo Motors “reflects high-caliber Moroccan skills and the government’s willingness to support entrepreneurship.”
Nassim Belkhayat, CEO of Neo Motors spoke of national pride as he celebrated the sale of the first car entirely made in Morocco.
“The project belongs to all of Morocco. It responds to His Majesty’s Royal Vision for industrial sovereignty, encouraging young entrepreneurs to take risks,” Belkhayat said.
“This is a first step, and I am proud to contribute to strengthening the ‘Made in Morocco’ label and to be part of this impressive competitive Moroccan automotive platform.”
The event also saw the signing of an agreement between Neo Motors, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and OFPPT to support the company in acquiring future talents tailored to its specific needs.
The Moroccan carmaker also signed a number of cooperation agreements with key partners, including the Moroccan banking group Credit Agricole du Maroc (CAM), and financial organizations such as Sofac, Maghrebail, and Maroc Leasing.
The company also signed an agreement with Speedy Maroc, a maintenance company, stressing in a statement that all these newly signed cooperation agreements aim to provide preferential conditions to young entrepreneurs.
Earlier this month, Neo Motors announced that it was seeking to launch its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Casablanca Stock Exchange to expand to electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing, Bloomberg reported.
The IPO would allow the company to go public and sell shares to raise capital to invest in its expansion plans.
Established in 2017, Neo Motors currently manufactures 3,000 units annually of its inaugural model, a three-door passenger vehicle priced at $20,000.
Bloomberg’s report notes that this model competes with similarly priced combustion-engine cars from Renault SA-owned Dacia and Chinese brands.
Belkhayat shared the company’s goal of increasing production capacity to 15,000 vehicles per year within three years and expanding their range of electric vehicles.
He also revealed that the company was in talks with the African Development Bank regarding additional financing options.
Neo’s success is an important milestone in the growth of Morocco’s automotive sector. The country has long invested in policies and major infrastructure projects to transform itself into a regional manufacturing hub.
Thanks to its proximity to Europe, Morocco has attracted major players in the car manufacturing industry such as Stellantis NV’s Peugeot and Renault. The government’s current focus is on boosting the domestic industry’s integration by locally manufacturing essential components.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Neo Motors secured loans from Moroccan banks to invest $4.9 million (MAD 50 million) in its Ain Aouda plant on the outskirts of Rabat.
“We wanted to make a car for the people, just like Volkswagen did a century ago,” Belkhayat told Bloomberg.