Automotive industry

Auto industry leaders come together to boost manufacturing of electrified vehicles in the North East

  • The SMMT Regional Forum is coming to Sunderland to help secure more investment for the region as the automotive industry seeks to ramp up production of zero-emission vehicles and batteries.
  • The latest SMMT analysis reveals a £4.1bn commitment from the automotive sector to the North East in the UK’s first ‘electric decade’, helping to create at least 7,000 jobs in the manufacture of electric vehicles.
  • Speakers from Adient, Advanced Electric Machines, Britishvolt and Nissan UK will join hundreds of attendees from across the automotive industry on May 5 at the Stadium of Light.

Bosses from some of the UK’s biggest electric vehicle, battery and component manufacturers will meet in Sunderland next month to discuss how best to secure the future of the car industry in the North East , bringing investment, growth and jobs to the region. They will be joined by hundreds of local businesses at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Regional Forum at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.

A recent analysis by SMMT revealed how the car industry committed £4.1billion to the North East during Britain’s first ‘electric decade’. This represents around a quarter of the total sum invested across the country by the sector since 2011, proving how vital the region is to the UK’s ambitions to increase production of electric vehicles and batteries on the road to zero. .

The North East is well known as a center of automotive manufacturing excellence, home to one of the UK’s largest car manufacturers and the UK’s first battery gigafactory, with investment in the region starting in 2011 with a £420 million commitment to Sunderland to build Britain’s first mass-produced battery-electric car.

At least 7,000 highly skilled, well-paid jobs have since been created to produce electric vehicles and technology in the region. These workers helped produce 47.5% (33,537 units) of all battery electric vehicles (BEVs) made in the UK last year, with most of these zero-emission cars – essential products in the combating air quality and combating climate change – built for export to world markets.

In addition to the recently announced expansion of the existing gigafactory in Sunderland, the region is home to 12 power electronics manufacturers, seven electric motor manufacturers and is the base for the UK’s next planned gigafactory in Blyth.

Industry leaders, including senior executives from major investors Nissan and Britishvolt, will be joined by senior management from Advanced Electric Machines, which designs and builds electric motor technology, and Adient, a seat producer self committed to sustainability. All speakers will seek to identify the best ways to harness the region’s undeniable competitive advantage to further drive investment and growth.

Speaking before the eventMike Hawes, Managing Director, SMMT mentioned,

The North East is an automotive manufacturing hub for the UK, producing products in demand around the world while supporting thousands of skilled, well-paying jobs. The region has seen more investment in electric vehicle and battery production than any other in the UK, underlining its importance to the sector, the economy and the decarbonisation of road transport. But no region can rest on its laurels, so it is important that its competitive edge is retained and new investment is secured, not only to create new jobs and growth, but to support the UK’s transition net zero.

Alan Johnson, vice president, Nissan’s UK plant in Sunderland, mentioned,

It is fantastic that the SMMT has chosen the North East to organize this important event. It will be a great opportunity to discuss the future of the industry, as well as Nissan’s exciting electrification plans, which include EV36Zero – the world’s first electric vehicle manufacturing ecosystem that we are building here in Sunderland.

Liv Peace, Managing Director of Britishvoltmentioned,

The North East of England is rapidly developing as the anchor of UK battery manufacturing excellence. It is a truly exciting and historic time for the region and the country. With easy access to renewable energy, a must for producing truly sustainable battery cells, the region is perfectly positioned to place the UK firmly on the global battery map. Add to all this the area’s excellent academic community and the creation of the North East Battery Alliance, and you’ll see why this part of the country is getting the reputation it is. The region’s five universities are collaborating to form working groups examining all aspects of battery production – from raw materials to recycling, to strengthen the region’s research offering in this field. Britishvolt is proud to be part of the story of the North East’s energy transition. Not all batteries are created equal.

Dr. James Widmer, CEO of Advanced Electric Machinesmentioned,

The success we have achieved thus far would not have been possible without the scientific, technical and manufacturing knowledge prevalent in the North East. We are proud that our unique sustainable electric motor technology is already bringing recognition to the North East in the global electric vehicle industry, and we look forward to expanding our offering while keeping the region at the heart of our business.

Representing over 800 automotive companies in the UK across production, import, supply chain and aftermarket, SMMT provides a forum for members to express their views on issues that affect them, helping companies grow their businesses to become more profitable, competitive and sustainable.

SMMT organizes major events throughout the year, including the International Motor Summit, Electrified, Open Forum, Meet the Buyer and regional forums, which take place in different parts of the UK. Members receive free access to events and enjoy other exclusive benefits, including access to data, webinars and a range of reports and information not available elsewhere.

Businesses can view the full event lineup and register their interest in attending the SMMT North East Regional Forum via the SMMT website –