North East Automotive Alliance Limited

Paul Butler
71% completed


About us


Our vision is for the North East to be recognised as a true automotive powerhouse which encompasses a very dynamic, forward looking and competitive supply chain that incorporates strengths in research, development and innovation in new automotive technologies and manufacturing processes.


To overcome Barriers to Growth by providing:

  • A network to sharing best practice, benchmarking and solving common problems
  • Access to business excellence, skills and training
  • Driving innovation and adoption of new technologies & processes
  • A focal point for collaborative projects and access to funding
  • A voice for the sector & interface with Government bodies
  • Promoting the sector regionally, nationally and internationally
  • Align to regional and national strategic objectives (i.e. Re-shoring)
Established - 17 October 2014
Staff in the management team - 1-5

Cluster composition

  • 273
    Cluster Members
  • 238
  • 18
    Number of start-ups among SME's
  • 35
    Large Companies
  • 21
    Research Organisations, Universities, Technology Centers
  • 0
    Number of civil society members
  • 34
    Other Ecosystem Actors

Success Story 1: Establishing the Cluster

In March 2016, the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) has achieved one year in business since its launch on 27th March 2015.

The NEAA, in accordance with cluster best practice across Europe, is industry-led and membership based. Our membership is home to a wealth of manufacturing capability, specialist products and services. Members range from world renowned OEMs, to world class Tier 1 companies, through to innovative SMEs and sole traders, as well as professional associate members.

As a collective, the NEAA has a strong portfolio of experienced companies all working together to promote and support the sustainable economic growth of the North East region’s automotive industry. The alliance is a perfect platform for member to member engagement and connecting the supply chain to business opportunities, as well as working together to solve skills issues and promote business excellence initiatives.

Highlights include:

Membership: Today we have 140 cluster participants and are already the largest automotive cluster in the UK and one of the fastest growing clusters in Europe.

Our membership runs calendar year and a clear demonstration of the value being created by the NEAA for its members is the fact that during the recent membership renewal in January only 5 did not renew.

Industry leadership and working groups: All the top performing clusters across Europe are industry-led. Industry leadership ensures that we focus and collaborate to address common constraints and develop initiatives that offer our members and the region the best opportunities. During our strategy process we identified that Business Excellence, Skills, Innovation & Technology and Trade & Investment were the priority areas of focus for the establishment of our industry led working groups.

To date we have 3 established working groups each at varying stages of development.

  • Business Excellence – the most mature and naturally the most advanced.
  • Skills – The group has established a strategy centred around 4 pillars of activity
  • Innovation & technology – launched in October activity will be centred around three key themes

The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) has marked its 5th anniversary by launching a new printed members’ directory and providing much needed support and guidance to those impacted by COVID-19.

During the five years the NEAA - now recognised as the largest automotive cluster in the UK - has been the catalyst for an unparalleled collaborative network where companies gain from the leadership and co-ordination of activities of mutual benefit.

See link for more information:

Success Story 2: Business Excellence Working Group

This group is the most mature WG within the NEAA. 12 leading companies form the strategy and focus groups, these are Nissan, R-TEK, Calsonic Kansei, Lear Corporation, SNOP, JCI, ZF-TRW, Unipres, Mecaplast, Komatsu, Elring Klinger and Nifco.

These companies have agree the strategy and key areas of focus, these are:

  • Benchmarking across agreed KPIs
  • Sharing Best Practice through a series of Best Practice visits
  • Focus Groups
    • Natural progression from topics raised at best practice visits
  • Improve cost competitiveness
    • Productivity
    • Resource efficiency
    • Cost reduction schemes – energy, insurance, international paymentsThis group has been instrumental in building a level of collaboration and horizontal communication taking place that is unprecedented with communication lines opening up that have been closed for more than two decades. The business excellence activity has definitely won the trust of suppliers based on the principle that we share “best practice” and not” trade secrets”. Again, without the NEAA relationship this mutual transfer of best practice would not have happened.Activity to date:
  • Benchmarking - benchmarking process across 15 KPI’s in order to identify best practice
  • Best Practice Visits - 8 best practice visits which have generated approx. 160 ideas for company improvements, one company reported the ideas generated in the very first best practice visit alone more than recouped their membership fee.
  • Focus Groups – these are natural progressions of the BP visits and to date we have established two focus groups - Productivity and Energy

Success Story 3: SME Supply Chain Development Programme

Growing the SME supply chain in the North East has been a major focus of the NEAA. The initial ERDF funded SME programme, which ran for 5 months and ended 30th September 2015, surpassed its original targets.

The programme of activity focused on:

  • Growing the network
  • Promoting regional SME companies
  • Greater, more influential voice to stakeholders
  • Increasing the number of business opportunities

Collaboration opportunities across cluster participantsThe North East Automotive Expo 2015 was a significant contributor to the SME assistance, given the level of interaction with key buyers at the event.

The assistance was also secured through company diagnostics to understand any problems that a business faces and how problems can be solved and tailored training courses. Core SMEs were able to attend valuable best practice workshops to some of the region’s leading automotive companies, with a view to taking away best practice ideas to improve their own company performance.It is essential to the NEAA’s success that both SMEs and large automotive companies are engaged in the alliance activity. Large companies provide the opportunities for SMEs to grow whilst SMEs provide the larger companies with opportunities to improve their supply chain and source more local products and services. 

Success Story 4: The North East Automotive Expo

The North East Automotive Alliance’s first Automotive Expo brought together regional suppliers together with buyers from global automotive companies and attracted over 330 delegates across the day representing more than 200 companies. Over 150 one-to-one meet the buyer with meetings took place with buyers from Nissan, Komatsu UK, Jaguar Land Rover, Lear Corporation, Faurecia, Faltec, Calsonic, Gestamp and Nifco.

The event was opened by the Local Growth and Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton praised the strength of the region’s automotive sector in his opening remarks, saying that it was “a sector which has a track record of huge potential for growth.”  He highlighted the important role the sector plays in rebalancing the economy.

The event was a real success for the North East automotive industry. Not only did it help raise the profile of the sector but it has brought together companies from all across the region’s supply chain. Many companies have since reported that they have identified numerous business opportunities that simply would not have been on their radar without the Expo. The event also succeeded in providing supply chain opportunities for North East companies for products and services that were being sourced from outside the region, thus helping the ratio of local content.

  • 88% of exhibitors achieved their main purpose for attending the event

90% of delegates rated the event Good or Very Good  


Many thanks for a great event and for your Northern hospitality. The presentations were excellent, especially those from the 2 suppliers as they provided strong success stories but at the same time set out the challenges on supplying into automotive. Some very good supplier discussions were held in the Meet the Buyer slot. Michael Mychajluk, Supply Chain & External Engagement Manager, Government Programmes, Jaguar Land Rover.

It was our first foray into the automotive world of the north east and very valuable I think. We all learnt a lot about the companies, people and operations taking place. Coming to the scene fairly unaware of the sector we were all staggered at the size and liveliness of it. Jason Collins, Marketing Director, ZeroLight

The Expo surpassed any expectations I had and thought it was both enjoyable and informative. Just what the regions needs in terms of showcasing its capability. Certainly the feedback I have had from both our suppliers and the OEM’s I spoke to at the event was very positive and very well organised. Peter Watson, Plant Manager R-TEK

Many thanks to you and your team and everyone involved for organising the event.  I think we have gained a lot of value out of it. Jason Shek, Material & Planning Manager, MICC Ltd

I just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity for the Auto IP to be involved in your event yesterday. I thought it was a great event, very well organised and really worthwhile attending. Dawn Hirst, Marketing Manager, Automotive Industrial Partnership

I really enjoyed it as the audience are so enthusiastic to engage, lots of notes since from companies in your area who want our support. Lawrence Davies, Deputy CEO, Automotive Investment Organisation 

Success Story 5: The North East Automotive Annual Awards

Over 240 people gathered at the inaugural North East automotive awards organised by the UK’s largest automotive cluster the North East Automotive Alliance.

Friday 9 February 2018 – Best Western Roker Hotel, Sunderland. The North East’s brightest youngsters and best companies from the region’s automotive sector have been recognised at the inaugural NEAA Annual Awards. 

240 industry guests attended the inaugural event where £18,000 was awarded in support of the region’s future automotive talent. The key note speech was provided by Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the SMMT.

See link for more information: 

Success Story 6: The North East Automotive Conference / The Future of Automotive Conference

Together with sponsors, MAKE it Sunderland and North East Growth Hub, along with a strong line up of national speakers, the Future of Automotive Conference held on 27 June was hailed a success by industry leaders. The event presented opportunities around new automotive on-vehicle technology and manufacturing process innovation, as well as insights in to navigating the UK’s national innovation strategy.

Conference speakers included senior figures from Innovate UK, Department for International Trade, APC UK, Driving the Electric Revolution, UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC), Meridian Mobility UK, High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Accenture, Siemens, TR Fastenings and Senseye.

Organiser of the conference, the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), was established in 2015 to support the sustainable economic growth and competitiveness of the North East automotive sector. Today, the NEAA, who already deliver the region’s only automotive expo which is entering its fifth year, as well as the annual automotive awards, is the largest automotive cluster in the UK and is widely recognised as an exemplar. 

Success Story 7: The North East Automotive Alliance Directory Launch

To help expand our marketing portfolio, offer increased membership value and to celebrate the our 5th Anniversary in March we have introduced a new printed version of our members directory.

This is a fantastic opportunity to promote our members as the directory will play a vital role in marketing the regions significant and growing capabilities, helping create a higher awareness of North East England as a location of choice for automotive investment, and attracting talent to our sector. With a 12-month shelf-life and a global distribution, it is the most comprehensive review of the North East automotive industry and features 230+ member companies.

See link for more information:

Success Story 8: NEAA Marks 5th Anniversary

The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) has marked its 5th anniversary by launching a new printed members’ directory and providing much needed support and guidance to those impacted by COVID-19.

During the five years the NEAA - now recognised as the largest automotive cluster in the UK - has been the catalyst for an unparalleled collaborative network where companies gain from the leadership and co-ordination of activities of mutual benefit.

See link for more information:…

Legal form of the cluster organisation
Limited Liability Company (private or public)
Languages spoken
Link to the team description on the cluster organisation website

Management team

Paul Butler
Cluster Manager
Stuart McGivern
Project Manager
Edward Leng
Project Manager
Laura Gage
ECCP Responsible Person
Rohan Kohli
Internationalisation Responsible

Sectorial and industrial focus

Sectoral industries
Sectoral Industries (NACE 4 digit)
Cross-sectoral industries
Digital Industries
Industrial Alliances and Ecosystems
Technology fields
S3 EU priority areas


Support services provided

Other (please specify)
Development of human resources, such as staff mobility, access to training

Further information

The NEAA is led by a strong Executive and Advisory Board who represent the diverse nature of the automotive industry. NEAA member companies find benefit from leadership and co-ordination of activities, which have mutual benefit and the membership creates a collaborative network, which is a more compelling and attractive environment for investors.

Our industry-led working groups focus on these issues and opportunities and member company you can engage in activity around working groups, which include:

  • Business Resilliance
    • Benchmarking across agreed KPIs
    • Sharing Best Practice (BP) through BP visits
    • Focus Groups – Natural progression from topics raised at best practice visits where companies continue to collaborate on specific areas
      • Productivity
      • Energy
      • Health and Safety
    • One to one company collaboration
  • Skills - Activities centred around 4 key pillars
    • Current workforce – a working group identifying and sharing current best practice in training delivery, people and organisational development
    • Graduates – a working group which looks to build stronger relationships with Universities and industry by promoting placements, internships and increasing graduate retention in the region
    • Apprentices -  a working group to increase the number of companies taking on apprentices
    • Future workforce – provide a framework for members to help ensure they have a suitably trained, competent and optimised workforce in the short, medium and long-term.
  • Innovation & Technology
    • Showcase latest technologies
    • Improve links with Universities
    • Provide funding advice and support
    • Coordinate collaborative project grants
    • Help commercialise new products and technologies
  • Trade & Investment 
    • Develop investment portfolio
    • Supporting existing NE operations to win new investment
    • Identify & promote the NE re-shoring opportunity
    • Working with regional partners to attract investment
    • Internationalisation of SMEs

Members also benefit from additional services and the promotion of the North East automotive sector’s capabilities on regional, national and international levels and the network’s ability to connect the supply chain to business opportunities.

Membership benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategic Direction
    • Led by industry, for industry
    • Network of industry leaders driving the strategy
    • Co-ordination of activities of mutual benefit 
  • Route to Market
    • Raising company profile
    • Networking and events
    • Platform to showcase products and services
    • Business and collaboration opportunities
    • Member to member introductions
    • Marketing support
    • NEAA Cluster Link intelligent business-to-business networking platform
    • Network of International links 
  • Capability Improvement
    • Business Resilience group
    • Manufacturing and Innovation group
    • Industry-led focus groups
    • Cost reduction activities
    • Benchmarking and KPIs
    • Best practice visits
    • Shared training resource
    • Increased profitability through member schemes
    • Access to funding
    • Skills initiatives 
  • Knowledge Transfer
    • Shared intelligence and dissemination of sector information
    • Knowledge transfer events and masterclasses
    • Supply chain opportunities to market
    • Insights into the latest technology and innovation
    • Technical and funding advice
    • International trade support 
  • Sector Engagement
    • Unified voice for the North East automotive sector to key stakeholder groups
    • Publicising individual businesses and the regional capabilities on a local and national level
    • Impacting and influencing policies

Further information can be found at

Support programmes

EU Programmes

Name & description

The NEAA has received funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2021.

Project name

ERDF Supply Chain North East Programme

Working with businesses who want to diversify, broaden their customer base and unlock new market opportunities.

A partnership between the North East LEP, NEAA, RTC North, NEPIC and Generator, Supply Chain North East will work with over 800 businesses between 2018 and 2021 and is designed to support businesses in the following sectors:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Subsea, offshore and energy technologies
  • Automotive and transport
  • Health and life sciences
  • Digital, tech and creative
  • Process, chemical and pharmaceutical
What are the opportunities?

The Supply Chain North East programme will provide businesses with tailored, specialist advice in areas including sales and marketing, digital transformation, accreditation and compliance. Market specialists will be on hand to provide industry insight and sector knowledge on UK and international supply chains.

By working with individual business leaders and their teams, our advisors and market specialists are here to help you build on your core competencies, understand improvement needs and identify suitable opportunities in new and existing markets.

Delivering an opportunity review, Supply Chain North East will also help you make the most of new technology, to drive productivity and innovation in new products and services.

Key services of Supply Chain North East will be to provide:
  • Access to market specialists - Industry insight and sector knowledge on UK and international supply chains
  • Sales & marketing support - refining your marketing strategy and grow the value of existing customers
  • Operational improvement plans - Opportunity review and action plan to help you set improvement goals
  • Support with digital transformation - Understanding how technology can drive competitiveness, profitability and innovation
  • Knowledge on accreditations and compliance - help with achieving standards required by markets, supply chains and customers
  • Support developing talent - wrap around series of workshops and best practice visits

Cooperation activities

International cooperation

Targeted countries

United States

Transnational cooperation

Targeted countries

Czech Republic

Transnational support activites

Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs

International support activites

Promotional Activities

Upcoming events

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Latest news and documents

News Achievements Published: 14.08.2020
The North East leading the way in 5G and connected and automated logistics
News Published: 14.08.2020
Virtual Automotive Export Week is launched
News Published: 08.04.2020
NEAA Joins EACN Partnership
News Published: 08.04.2020
NEAA Marks 5th Anniversary

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