Downturn could threaten Wearside’s booming auto industry, warns report

Sunderland's Nissan plant is critical to the success of the North East automotive industry.
Sunderland's Nissan plant is critical to the success of the North East automotive industry.
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Wearside’s automotive boom is threatened by increasing global instability and the slowing Chinese economy, claims a new report from Lloyds Banking.

Driving Innovation analyses the state of the industry and the opportunities and challenges it faces.

While the automotive industry is forecasting healthy growth, it’s clear global instability and uncertainty threatens manufacturers’ confidence. In particular, the slowdown in China is a concern given that it is the biggest market for British-made cars outside the EU.

James Walton

The report gathered views from across the automotive supply chain and found almost half of firms believe the global economy is the prevailing challenge to the industry, underlined by a significant drop in the number of firms expecting to achieve business growth by entering new markets.

Co-author James Walton, said: “While the automotive industry is forecasting healthy growth, it’s clear global instability and uncertainty threatens manufacturers’ confidence.

“In particular, the slowdown in China is a concern, given that it is the biggest market for British-made cars outside the EU.

“However the sector is resilient and one of the most dynamic, innovative and exciting industries in the world, with British firms at its forefront.”

Paul Butler, chief executive of the North East Automotive Alliance, said: “I think these figures are conservative at best and don’t take into account any potential new investment coming into the region.

“We have a very strong automotive sector, and growth across the sector remains strong.

“The North East is well positioned to take advantage of this growth. We have a very strong automotive sector and supply chain, excellent transport infrastructure in which to serve the North East, UK and EU markets and a supportive network centred around the Automotive Alliance.”