THE region's automotive firms can promote themselves at an international conference next month.

The International Automotive Conference, to be held in Sunderland on March 25-27, will bring together senior representatives from the world's leading companies, including Nissan, Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Its organiser, Sunderland City Council, hopes that local firms will use it as an opportunity to raise their profiles.

The council's economic development officer, Tom Hurst, said: "This is the fifth time we have hosted the conference in the city, and the last time we attracted delegates from Germany, the US and Sweden.

"We are once again looking forward to welcoming delegates from across the world, and we hope that companies based in the North-East will take advantage of this event and get their message across to potential customers."

Exhibitors will receive complimentary registration, plus two seats for the conference dinner at the Stadium of Light.

Two key themes that will be discussed are electronic purchasing and manufacturing inside and outside the euro zone.

Delegates will see Sunderland's automotive production and manufacturing facilities during plant visits to Nissan and TRW.

The conference is taking place at the University of Sunderland's Sir Tom Cowie Lecture Theatre. Firms interested in taking part should ring (0238) 263 1331.