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

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 Britishvolt, 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.

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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.

Over 10m cars since the launch in 1986.
More than £6bn invested by Nissan into the Sunderland Plant.
More than £2bn contributed by Nissan to the UK economy annually since 2006.
30% of all UK manufactured cars are built in Sunderland.
80% of vehicles are exported.
Export to 100+ markets globally.
6,000 jobs at the Sunderland Plant.
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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 the UK’s first Gigaplant from AESC UK.

The UK’s largest lithium-ion battery producer.
The UK’s first large scale gigafactory is in build stage. A second state-of-the-art gigafactory from AESC UK, announced in 2021, with 16GWh capacity and located on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) in Sunderland.
In November 2023, Nissan announced it will build a third gigafactory to produce batteries for the vehicles, all of which will be powered by renewable energy.
The EV36Zero hub in Sunderland, Nissan’s blueprint for future manufacturing, will produce three new all-electric vehicles, supplied by three gigafactories and £3bn of investment in the UK.
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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.

Employs over 500 staff at Birtley.
An extensive product portfolio, featuring 17 models.
Exports mainly to Europe and North Africa.
As the construction industry embraces sustainability, the Komatsu PC210E all electric machine, leads the way towards cleaner, more energy-efficient practices.
The UK plant at Birtley was officially opened in 1987 by HRH The Prince of Wales.
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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.


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.