Qatar is close to launching its first major project as part of a plan to develop large-scale automotive manufacturing in Qatar, the MEED Middle East Aluminium 2012 Conference was told this morning.

Chief executive officer of Qatar Automotive Gateway, Ahmed Sorour said that the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Prodrive of the UK to set up a joint venture world-scale carbon composite manufacturing plant.

Sorour said that Qatar is pressing ahead with a major automotive industry initiative. “Our objective is to manufacture components and not assemble cars,” Sorour said. “Our intention is to establish an automotive cluster and we have identified two sectors. One is lightweight materials like carbon fibre. And the other is lithium-ion battery materials.”

Sorour said that Qatar Holding’s investment in the VW Group and Porsche will help facilitate automotive component manufacture in Qatar.