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Business & Economy

North East Automotive Alliance revs up to 300 as sector continues to shine

The organisation representing the North East’s vast £11bn-a-year automotive sector has passed a major milestone following strong growth in the industry.

The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) has seen its membership hit a new high, with Howell Technology Group (HTG) joining as its 300th member. Formed three years ago to support the sustainable economic growth and competitiveness of the region’s automotive sector, the NEAA is now the UK’s largest automotive industry cluster and one of the fastest growing clusters across Europe.

HTG is a global IT consultancy based in South Tyneside that supplies digital technology solutions to a range of industries, including the automotive sector. Its services include digital workspaces, cloud solutions, virtualisation, networking, IT security and professional services.

CEO Graham Wight, who has a background in automotives, having started his career at Nissan Yamato (now Unipres) in 1991, said: “We operate globally from our North East base and can support manufacturing companies and supply chains linked to the automotive sector at every stage of their business journey. We provide close customer support, expert advice and guidance – helping customers to succeed on a regional, national and global platform.

“The automotive sector looks to be entering a tremendously exciting era and is very important to the region, so the NEAA provides the perfect platform to network with other members, forge new partnerships and keep up to date with any developments in the sector.”

Paul Butler, CEO of the NEAA and cluster benchmarking expert, added: “We are delighted to welcome HTG to the NEAA. To see the cluster reach this landmark in such a short period of time is remarkable and a clear indication the organisation provides valuable support for our automotive sector.”

“We are entering a very exciting and challenging period of technological advancements both within the vehicles we produce and the factories that produce the vehicles and component parts.”

“There are many opportunities ahead for companies in the automotive industry in North East England to win new business in the UK and overseas and to improve their competitiveness and capability. The NEAA provides the platform for making sure companies like HTG are able to take full advantage of these opportunities.”

The North East is home to over 240 automotive sector firms and produces around 30 per cent of the UK’s passenger cars. It also represents 20 per cent of all electric vehicle production across Europe and manufacturers over 6,000 non-highway vehicles per year.

The region’s globally competitive supply chain, meanwhile, has 28 Tier 1 suppliers and a rich seam of specialist SMEs and research and development centres.

The North East automotive industry is a major contributor to the North East economy, generating over £11bn in sales and exporting over £6bn annually. Future growth is predicted to be in excess of £3bn by 2021 as the region capitalises on Nissan’s decision to build the next generation Juke, Qashqai and X-trail models in Sunderland and a number of key suppliers move onto the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

Through industry leadership the NEAA focuses on activities that offer the region the greatest opportunity for growth and competitiveness. Over 160 industrialists collaborate through 13 industry working groups covering Network and Connectivity, Business Competitiveness, Skills, Innovation and Technology and Trade and Investment, and provide a catalyst for co-operative working which drives the sector forward.

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