More than 100 new jobs are to be created as French car parts firm SNOP builds a new £15m factory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).
Work on the company's new manufacturing plant on land close to Nissan is already well underway and is set to be completed by Spring.
SNOP - which makes car parts for the likes of Peugeot, Audi, Renault, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Seat and Nissan - will initially take more than 17 acres of the first phase of IAMP, opening a 235,000 sq ft state-of-the-art factory and office space.
But it has the potential to expand its new base to 331,000 sq ft should it wish.
SNOP expects to see turnover grow from 54m Euros to 90m, with a further 100-150 jobs created in the process, on top of its current 250-strong workforce.
David Brander, plant director at SNOP UK, said: "We are delighted to be the first business to make the International Advanced Manufacturing Park our home.
"Sunderland and South Tyneside have much to offer to manufacturing businesses like ours.
"We know that we can enjoy direct access to a fantastic talent pool, as well as benefiting from the other excellent assets this site offers, including outstanding connectivity to road, sea, air and rail links.
"We really are confident about our future here and this investment shows that. We look forward to a successful future at IAMP."
The decision was also backed by political leaders in Sunderland and South Tyneside.
Coun Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "We are delighted to see SNOP choose the IAMP as its new base and to see such visible signs of progress on the site, with the frame now filling the sky.
"We are incredibly proud to have such a strong automotive sector in Sunderland and South Tyneside, and SNOP’s decision to invest here demonstrates the level of confidence that they have in the North East. It’s a hugely significant step forward for IAMP, and we are certain this is the first of a number of exciting developments on this special site."
SNOP is also investing a further 15m Euros in new machinery at its new plant. It is working with Silverstone Building Consultancy to project manage its construction, with the building expected to fully handed-over in May.
Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "IAMP is a special site and we always had a great deal of confidence that it would prove to be attractive to businesses in the manufacturing sector, because of its natural assets.
"The announcement that SNOP will become our first occupier on site is great news, and we are looking forward to welcoming more businesses to IAMP over the coming weeks, months and years.
"This is a site that – both in the short and long term – will deliver a significant number of jobs for people in this region and positively contribute to UK Plc.”