Sunderland's Stadium of Light to host massive conference on future of North East motor industry

The future of the North East’s automotive industry will come under the spotlight at a massive event in Sunderland next month.

Bosses from some of the UK’s biggest electric vehicle, battery and component manufacturers will be joined by hundreds of local businesses at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Regional Forum at the Stadium of Light on May 5.

Recent analysis by SMMT shows the industry has committed £4.1billion to the region during the UK’s first decade of electric vehicle production – around a quarter of the total invested nationwide by the sector since 2011 – and at least 7,000 jobs have been created.

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In addition to the recently announced expansion of the existing gigafactory in Sunderland, the area is home to 12 power electronic manufacturers, seven electric motor manufacturers, and is the base for the UK’s next planned gigafactory at 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 technologies, and Adient, a producer of car seats committed to sustainability at next month’s event.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The North East is an automotive manufacturing hub for the UK, making products that are sought after across the globe while sustaining thousands of well-paid, skilled jobs.

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"The region has seen more investment into electric vehicle and battery production than any other in the UK, highlighting its importance to the sector, the economy and the decarbonisation of road transport.

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The Stadium of Light will host next month's conference

"But no region can rest on its laurels, so it is important that its competitive advantage is retained and further investment secured not just to create new jobs and growth but to bolster the UK’s shift to net zero.”

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Alan Johnson, Vice President, Nissan UK Sunderland Plant, added: “It’s fantastic that the SMMT have chosen the North East to hold this important event.

"It will be a great opportunity to discuss the future for the industry, as well as Nissan’s own exciting electrification plans, which include EV36Zero - the world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem that we are building here in Sunderland.”

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Businesses can see the full event line-up and register their interest to attend SMMT Regional Forum North East via the SMMT website -

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes