The government’s Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO) has visited Sunderland’s thriving automotive components companies.
The two-day visit, organised by the business investment team of Sunderland City Council, included talks with senior managers and plant tours of global supply chain companies based in Sunderland such as TRW, Lear Corporation, Calsonic Kansei and Unipres.
Sunderland’s automotive sector attracted AIO to the city to see first-hand the breadth of current investment, and which aspects of automotive manufacturing could strengthen the city’s and the UK’s automotive industry.
Deputy chief executive of AIO Lawrence Davies, who was head of procurement and supply chain at General Motors UK, said: “The AIO may only have been established for a short time but we have already formed an excellent relationship with Sunderland City Council’s business investment team.
“Seeing the strength of Sunderland’s automotive sector for ourselves is extremely helpful and timely, as we develop our shared work to implement the UK’s Automotive Industrial Strategy.
“The visit to Sunderland has clarified supply chain strengths in the city and UK, and those areas that could be the focus of further global investment to complement existing expertise. The talks with directors and plant managers of some world-leading automotive companies, based in Sunderland, have been extremely positive and helpful.”
Sunderland attracted a number of major automotive sector investments totalling over £265million during 2013, including announcements by Nissan, TRW and Calsonic Kansei.
Councillor Harry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Automotive Investment Organisation to Sunderland.
“This sector is key to economic growth in the city, region and UK. The record-breaking production capabilities of Sunderland-based companies show how the sector can bring major investment to a city which has a direct impact on the UK economy.
“The skills and commitment of the city’s automotive sector are creating significant growth, which positions the city as a global hub for automotive manufacturing.”
The automotive industry is one of 11 sectors that have been identified by the government as key to future growth and prosperity.
AIO was set up by the government in 2013 to attract more overseas investment into the UK’s car manufacturing sector.
It aims to increase investment from global automotive manufacturers in the UK, including component manufacturers that will complement existing providers such as the successful, growing network of supply chain companies across Sunderland.