Prof. Jon King, who works for WMG Centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult, is a long-standing member of the UK Automotive Council Supply Chain Group. He recently chaired the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Automotive Components Section and sits on governance boards for supply chain improvement programmes.

In 2013 the Automotive Council set out the Automotive Sector Strategy to deliver long-term opportunities, particularly for supply chain companies and developers of ultra-low emission vehicles. Today the UK automotive industry continues to buck trends across Europe with over £15bn being invested into the UK automotive sector since 2012. The sector is hitting near record production levels of 1.82 million vehicles and UK content has grown from 36% to 44%. However there are still many challenges that lie ahead, and during the dinner, Prof. Jon King will discuss how the UK automotive sector is addressing these challenges and seeking to maximise the UK’s competitive advantage.

Jon comments on his support for the region and his guest speaker role: “I’m always pleased to visit the North East to promote the opportunities there are to strengthen the automotive sector supply chain. There is great potential to grow UK content, but we need to have a connected national and regional discussion in order to be successful. This is another occasion for us to do just that.”

The dinner will play host to over 240 industry professionals and automotive VIPs and is sponsored by Invest South Tyneside. It will offer the ideal platform to network with some of the UK’s most influential automotive professionals whilst recognising the success of the region’s automotive sector.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “We’re very proud to be sponsoring this event once again.

“The automotive industry is tremendously significant in this region; and the existing automotive supply chain here has established an excellent reputation. This provides a robust foundation for the development of the IAMP which will allow us to fully capitalise on our knowledge and expertise and further cement our reputation in the field.

“The IAMP will unlock the economic potential that the automotive sector can create for South Tyneside and the wider region.”

Paul Butler, CEO said, “I am delighted to have Professor Jon King support our annual North East automotive event. Jon is an extremely experienced and respected industry figure who is sure to interest the audience at the dinner. His speech will provide the national context for the activities of the NEAA, demonstrating our efforts to ensure we have a truly co-ordinated approach to supporting the regions automotive sector.

“We remain committed to keeping the Expo industry-focussed and are confident this year’s event and dinner will provide even more opportunities for our members, SMEs and the wider automotive sector.”

More than 400 delegates are now expected to descend on the Stadium of Light the following day during the region’s only event solely focussed on the automotive sector. The Expo will provide numerous opportunities for automotive suppliers and associated service companies to showcase their products and services, whilst providing valuable networking opportunities, Meet the Buyer one-to-ones, industry-specific workshops and keynote speeches from Judith Richardson, Vice President of Purchasing, Nissan Europe and Garry Wilson, Director – Business Development, Advanced Propulsion Centre UK.