Industry-leading keynote speakers, SME showcase and new technology among North East Automotive Expo highlights

NEAA’s flagship event returned for a fourth year on 27 September at a new exciting venue – the Beacon of Light – with more than 550 visiting delegates.

Some of the biggest names in the industry both regionally and nationally made a presence at this year’s North East Automotive Expo, including members of the Automotive Council Supply Chain Group, which comprises of companies such as the Department for International Trade (DiT) Automotive Sector Team, the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Adient Seating UK, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), BorgWarner and ZF Lemforder UK.

Judith Richardson, global purchasing director for electrical propulsion at Jaguar Land Rover & chair of the Automotive Council Supply Chain Group said: “I am delighted to be a part of this year’s North East Automotive Expo, representing the Automotive Council Supply Chain Group. We see the North East as fundamental to the success of the UK automotive industry and we look forward to networking with companies in the region, whilst informing delegates about the Automotive Council’s wider supply chain initiatives.”

The automotive event, organised by the UK’s largest automotive cluster – the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) - is the only event of its kind in the region and welcomed more than 550 delegates across a broad spectrum of functions including plant managers and engineering disciplines from the region’s top performing manufacturing companies. The new venue enabled the expo to grow its exhibitor profile by 30% compared to last year’s event and showcased 40 Small Medium Enterprise (SME) companies as part of the NEAA’s ERDF funded programme as well as a further 90 exhibitors.

The expo was also used as a platform to demonstrate new and emerging technology from a number of members and companies in the region who are leading the way in terms of advanced propulsion, electric machines and power electronics and automation.

Lawrence Davies MBE, chief executive of DiT Automotive Sector Team, who delivered the keynote speech at the pre-event dinner said: “The North East is a major area for our automotive sector. A third of total build comes from Sunderland, therefore it is crucial we have opportunities like this to show off the expertise of the region.

“I can hardly believe the growth of this Expo in four years and having so many innovative companies here reflects the importance of this region and the technology of the future.”

The expo, sponsored by MAKE it Sunderland for a fourth year, was also supported by a further five big name sponsors including the Growth Hub North East, TR Fastenings, Invest South Tyneside, Senseye and Aztec Colour Print.

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council said: “The opportunities for the automotive sector at this year’s expo were better than ever. The sector is a hugely significant, and growing part of our local, regional and national economy, and it is key that we develop ecosystems to enhance the sector through R&D, innovation, digital and skills This event provides the national and international sector a platform on which to collaborate, from OEM’s through to SME companies and acts as a catalyst in providing opportunities for partnership working well into the future.”

Paul Butler, CEO of the NEAA said: “The Expo is the perfect platform to promote the strength and breadth of the North East automotive sector - 130 companies exhibited showcasing their products and services to the 550 plus delegates that came through the door today.

“Our cluster goes from strength to strength and as the regional automotive sector grows it’s important to connect and collaborate with organisations such as the Automotive Council Supply Chain Group, the Department for International Trade, the Advanced Propulsion Centre, the Battery faraday and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles who at the forefront of the UK automotive sector strategy. The Expo provides a perfect opportunity to bring this all together and to maximise the benefits for the NE economy and for UK PLC.”