The North East is one of the most established and productive manufacturing sectors in Europe, home to Nissan and an abundance of other thriving manufacturing giants including Hitachi, Cummins, Komatsu, Caterpillar and Liebherr.

The region produces 30% of all UK passenger vehicles, which includes 20% of all battery electric vehicles across Europe and 350,000 engines per year. Three of the UK’s top five off-highway manufacturers are based here and produce 10% of all UK non-highway vehicles.

The region produces 30% of all UK passenger vehicles

20% of all battery electric vehicles across Europe

10% of all UK non-highway vehicles


It is home to a globally competitive supply chain that consists of 31 Tier 1 suppliers, over 200 T2-TN suppliers, a wealth of specialist SMEs, 21 R&D centres and a strong business support network. The sector employs over 30,000 people, exports £7.4 billion and has a turnover of £11 billion per annum.

Electrification is a key part of the Government’s plan to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050 and this represents a huge opportunity for the North East of England. No other region in the UK can compare to the North East’s electrification credentials which date back to the 1920’s.

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The region is home to the largest and most successful passenger vehicle plant in the UK, Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK, Sunderland.

Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK – Key facts;
10m cars since the launch in 1986
Invested £3.5bn
Accounts for 30% of all UK car production
Exports to more than 130 markets
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The region produces 20% of all battery electric vehicles across Europe and is home to Europe’s most successful Electric Vehicle (EV), the Nissan LEAF, along with Europe and UK’s first Gigaplant from Envision AESC.

Batteries – Key facts;
Two new battery facilities announced in 2021 with potential to expand to 60GWh
Britishvolt’s first full-scale battery Gigaplant is being built in Cambois, Northumberland
Britishvolt's first production will commence in late 2023
Envision AESC has commenced build of the UK's first at scale battery manufacturing plant at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) in Sunderland
Envision AESC will invest £450m to build the 9GWh-capacity Gigafactory
46,000 Nissan LEAF cars were produced in 2019
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Komatsu UK is part of the Global Komatsu organisation, which is the world’s second largest manufacturer and supplier of construction and mining equipment and has proudly been providing high-quality reliable products for a century. Komatsu’s head office is in Tokyo, and there are 255 companies in the Global Group, in which a total of over 62,000 people are employed.

Komatsu UK – Key facts;
Currently employs over 500 staff
An extensive product portfolio, featuring 17 models
Exports mainly to Europe and North Africa
The UK plant at Birtley was officially opened in 1987 by HRH The Prince of Wales
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The region is home to Europe’s most successful Electric Vehicle (EV), the Nissan LEAF, Europe’s first Giga battery manufacturing facility, and has full Power Electronics, Motors and Drives (PEMD) capability. The unveiling of Nissan’s EV36Zero – a £1billion EV Hub to accelerate the journey to carbon neutrality – brings welcome news to the automotive sector, securing the future for many of the supply chain and reaffirming the region’s position as the UK’s leading location for vehicle electrification.

In 2021, further investment from Turntide Technologies and Peak Resources demonstrate how the North East is leading the UK’s electrification agenda.

The region also boasts supporting research and development infrastructure from Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) Industrialisation Centre North East and the Advanced Propulsion Centre. The Advanced Propulsion Centre, who are funded by the UK Government to make the UK a centre of excellence for the research, development and production of low carbon propulsion technology, has an Electric Machine spoke at Newcastle University. In total, 17 of the 21 automotive-related research centres in the North East are focused on electrification.


The North East of England, with its manufacturing heritage, is at the forefront in developing the technologies committed to supporting decarbonisation and leading the drive for Net Zero.