A record-breaking 700-plus delegates gathered at the Beacon of Light for the annual North East Automotive Expo.
Organised by the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), it featured over 120 exhibitors, 100 1-2-1 meetings and the largest technology showcase to date.
Paul Butler, CEO of NEAA, said: “The number of delegates continues to grow and this year’s Expo continues that theme – but it’s also about the quality that attends too. It was a very vibrant and fast-paced event, which chimes perfectly with the rate of growth and innovation that we are seeing right now within the North East automotive supply chain.
“While there was a great deal of activity across the day, we noticed, in particular, that the technology showcase, which puts a spotlight on companies bringing innovation to the sector, attracted a great deal of attention from delegates and we are looking to further expand this feature of the Expo next year and beyond.
“A huge thanks to our loyal sponsors, the exhibitors, who we know from talking to many of them, made new contacts and unearthed potential commercial opportunities and to the delegates who turned up in such numbers.”
The keynote speaker was Alan Johnson, vice president manufacturing at Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK), who touched on digitalisation, skills and localisation and Nissan’s drive towards net zero with its EV36Zero £1bn Electric Vehicle Hub.
Sunderland City Council was main sponsor for a seventh year and Invest South Tyneside, Advance Northumberland, ThinkPrime, TR Fastenings, CMYK, Horizon Works, Masfix, Ekobox and Reliance High-Tech, showed their support with repeat sponsorship. New sponsor, Nokia was partner sponsor, Manosun sponsored the Technology Showcase and Smart Manufacturing Solutions and SMS Tech sponsored the ‘new for 2022’ Drinks and Networking Reception.
The NEAA also hosted an SME Zone which offers vital support to firms looking to expand their presence in the automotive sector. The ERDF funded programme, Supply Chain North East, provided fully funded exhibition space to over 20 eligible companies in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership area.
Sarah Wharrier, regional sales director at Expo registration sponsor, CMYK, said: “CMYK was delighted to be involved with such a pivotal event for the automotive sector in our region. It was fantastic to be able to network with some of our existing clients and generate new business relationships with fellow NEAA members.”
Steven Patterson, country manager UK & Europe at technology showcase sponsor, Manosun, said: “It was everything and more than I expected to be honest. As Manosun cement our presence here in the UK, particularly in the North East, we sponsored the Expo to gain exposure in the automotive marketplace. I originally joined the NEAA to become part of this event alone but the business support I have been given from the team has been fantastic and it truly is a valuable membership cluster.”