The North East Automotive Industry

Over the past thirty years the North East has established itself as a centre of excellence for automotive manufacturing.

The region produces 30% of all UK passenger vehicles, which includes 20% of all electric vehicles across Europe, 10% of all UK non-highway vehicles, and 350,000 engines per year.

More recently, it has established itself as the leading UK location for battery manufacturing and become a world leader in power electronics, motors and drives. It is home to a globally competitive supply chain which consists of 31 tier 1 suppliers and a wealth of specialist SMEs, numerous R&D centres and a strong business support network.

Combined, these companies’ employee over 30,000 people and turnover £11 billion per annum.

Passenger Vehicles

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

The North East has a strong, flexible supply base and is home to some of the leading global automotive companies, including Adient, Borg Warner, Elring Klinger, Envision AESC, Faltec, Gestamp, Kasai, Lear, Magna, Marelli, Minth, Nifco, Novares, SNOP, Unipres and ZF. The region also boasts a wealth of specialist SMEs and numerous R&D centres, totalling over 300 companies.

The region is also well placed to capitalise on an electrified future and is home to Europe’s first battery giga and has established strengths in power electronics and electric machines. Today, the region produces over 1million electric motors per annum.

Off-Highway & Commercial Vehicles

The North East of England is home to 3 of the 5 leading off-highway manufacturers in the UK – Caterpillar, Komatsu and Liebherr.


The region has established strengths in the production of internal combustion engines, producing approximately 350,000 engines per annum. In addition, the region has growing strengths in the electric motors and currently produces over 1m per annum


North East England has a highly skilled, loyal workforce, trained in the very latest manufacturing processes and techniques and is renowned for its exceptional productivity. More than 63,500 specialists work in the advanced manufacturing sector, 126,000 in the wider manufacturing sector and 51,000 STEM students coming through its universities - the North East has one of the most solid, reliable and sustainable workforces in the UK.


The North East has excellent connectivity to the wider UK, Europe and other global markets thanks to its outstanding infrastructure, including Newcastle and Tees Valley international airports and seven ports (Berwick-upon-Tweed, Blyth, Hartlepool, Port of Tyne, Redcar, Sunderland and Teesport). The Port of Tyne is a major European vehicle handler, located just four miles from Nissan’s Sunderland plant, with three car terminals processing 600,000 vehicles every year.

The International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) is one the most important development sites in the north of England, if not the country. With up to 150 hectares of development land to the north of Nissan UK IAMP is a hub for automotive, advanced manufacturing and technology businesses, accelerating economic growth and generating the conditions for private sector investment of over £400 million. IAMP is designated a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’ (NSIP) by the UK Government.


Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CESAM) is an advanced manufacturing innovation centre that will provide the catalyst for manufacturing productivity improvement in North East England - through world class open innovation, adoption and knowledge transfer. CESAM will enable companies based in the NE to be at the forefront of manufacturing technology and processes – connecting the NE to the research excellence that exists in the UK and overseas, delivering the best solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

DER Centre North East – is one of the 4 national centres of the Driving the Electric Revolution programme; which seeks to make the UK a global leader in the manufacture of core technologies that underpin electrification: Power Electronics, Electric Machines and Drives (PEMD). The Challenge will accelerate the UK's ability to deliver; next generation electric vehicles, hybrid aircraft, energy generation, smart grids, industrial drives, consumer products, low-carbon off-highway for construction and agriculture, low-carbon maritime and rail.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Logistics; the region has ambitions to develop a globally unique centre of excellence and testbed for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles for Logistics; which builds upon the UK CAV Testbed ecosystem, contributing to the regions ambitions to become a regional demonstrator for Connected and Autonomous Mobility (CAM) whilst utilising the unique assets of the North East’s road transport sector.