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Sunderland in the driving seat

Date 16 Nov 2007

All roads headed to Sunderland last week as figures from the world motoring industry gathered for an international event. Sunderland is the host city for the ninth International Automotive Conference, with experts gathering to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

The event was designed to showcase the city's automotive industry and attracted hundreds of guests from Europe and the USA. Hybrid vehicles, fuel efficient cars and tomorrow's motor vehicle technology were among the issues debated by industry leaders. Local suppliers also had an opportunity to network with industry giants including Jaguar, Land Rover, Lotus and Honda.

Coun Bob Symonds, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "Sunderland is recognised internationally for the strength of its automotive industry and the skills of its workers. This is a chance to showcase that."

Delegates were given the opportunity to see Sunderland's automotive production and manufacturing facilities, with site visits to Nissan and TRW.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, deputy managing director at Nissan, said: "The IAC conference represents a real opportunity for us and the city to show the wider motoring industry what we're doing in Sunderland."

Other highlights included presentations from Kevin Fitzpatrick on the Nissan production model and recent plant improvements; experts from Jaguar looking at future car designs, plus a discussion on the transfer of technology from motorsport to the road car.

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