Over 600 delegates attend Expo in massive show of strength for the North East automotive sector

Delegates at the fifth annual automotive Expo, coordinated by the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), heard the sector has created 8,000 jobs and attracted £1.9 billion of capital investment in the last ten years.

Both figures are set to grow strongly with the creation of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), situated close to Nissan.

The comments came from Patrick Melia, chief executive, Sunderland City Council, which was the main sponsor of the Expo.

He said: “This is a hugely important event, which we were delighted to sponsor, as it celebrates the automotive industry in Sunderland and the North East.

“The sheer scale of the success story here in Sunderland is truly impressive, with the city’s automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors creating almost 8,000 jobs and attracting £1.9 billion of capital investment over the last ten years.

“Working in partnership, we continue to build on those strengths and successes, with the development of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) and our new centre for innovation CESAM, together with a real focus on emerging technologies, helping to ensure that the North East automotive sector maintains its leading edge for many years to come.”

A tech-zone, sponsored by Hitachi Consulting, introducing new technology from companies such as Omron Electronics, Animmersion, Unipres (UK), Magna Exteriors and Hart Door Systems, drew in large crowds and was a highlight of the day. A meet-the-buyer event presented over 100 companies involved at various stages in the supply chain, with the opportunity to discuss their products and services in one-to-one meetings with potential customers.

Paul Butler, chief executive, NEAA, welcomed exhibitors and delegates and was followed by Lawrence Davies MBE, chief advisor automotive team, Department for International Trade, who shared his thoughts on inward investment and exporting before keynote speaker, Mike Nugent, director, Hitachi Consulting took to the stage.

Mike Nugent, said: “We have a very strong desire to bring innovation to the sector. We want to invest in ambitious companies and tap into new technology, with a drive towards smart manufacturing.”

Over 130 companies from across the UK showcased their products and services at the Beacon of Light to 600 delegates who attended the day-long event, which was sponsored by big names including MAKE it Sunderland, ElringKlinger, Invest South Tyneside, Invest North East England, Senseye, Hitachi Consulting, Aztec Colour Print and Upstate SC Alliance. Innovation was the key theme to the North East’s only event focused on the automotive sector.

Paul Butler, said: “The Expo was a huge success and gave members of all sizes the opportunity to display their products and services. At the top of the scale Nissan showed the new Juke and Leaf and a vast range of companies in the direct supply chain and others providing business services, took part in conversations that could lead to new contracts.

“For the first year, we were delighted to welcome Hitachi Consulting not just to the Expo but as a keynote speaker and sponsor, with collaboration and a desire to bring innovation to the industry, high on its agenda. We continue to work in partnership with MAKE it Sunderland and welcomed it as a main sponsor.

Lawrence Davies MBE, department of international trade, expressed his support for the Expo and described it as a go-to event for inward investors and exporters, which again bolsters confidence for the sector and the region.

“The Expo is growing year-on-year and we continue to welcome a high volume of delegates and exhibitors from throughout the UK. We are already looking forward to next year’s Expo.”