What is claimed to be Britain's only groundbreaking automotive event bringing companies and academics together to discuss ideas and products for collaboration will be held in Cardiff, Wales, later this month.

Autolink Wales 2005 is intended to give component suppliers time to meet and discuss ventures, hear of successful case studies and to look over examples of products.

It follows the success of the inaugural event last year, which attracted scores of companies and over 100 delegates from automotive component supplier companies in Britain, Germany, South Africa, India and Slovakia.

Aerospace and academic institutions will also be taking part for the first time this year to share knowledge.

Autolink Wales 2005 is an initiative of the Welsh Automotive Forum. Chief executive Tim Williams said: "Last year's event was an enormous success with a lot of positive feedback from participants and we hope it will become a permanent feature of the international calendar because it opens so many doors to companies."

Automotive software specialist PTC is backing the event. UK regional director Richard Allan said: "We know first hand the value of collaboration to reduce costs, improve efficiency and bring products to market sooner than would otherwise be the case."

The concept of supplying knowledge to car makers and the components industry is well understood by Paul Nieuwenhuis, assistant director of the Centre for Automotive Industry and Research, at Cardiff University.

He said: "We have worked with many companies as well as government agencies and can often bring in strategic perspectives our clients have not considered. Academics can provide a different perspective only available to an outsider who nevertheless has a good understanding of the industry or process"

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