The automotive division of NSK Bearings has become one of the first businesses to win a global quality standard Newsquest Media Group Newspapers reported.

NSK Europe, which employs 640 staff in Peterlee, east Durham, has achieved the sought-after TS16949 quality specification.

NSK manufactures bearings and steering systems for the motor industry, with clients including Nissan, Toyota and Land Rover.

Experts from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Industry Forum worked with NSK to ensure that its production methods and training matched the new standard, which is replacing all existing quality standards in the world automotive industry.