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September 02, 2008— Ottawa, Ontario

Highly Automotive

Canada's automotive industry is one of our largest manufacturing sectors. It employs more than 160,000 people in automotive assembly and component manufacturing, as well as 330,000 in distribution and aftermarket sales and service.

This industry accounts for 12 percent of Canada's manufacturing gross domestic product and 24 percent of international manufacturing trade. The sector requires innovative products and technologies to remain globally competitive.

That is why NRC is engaged in innovative research with the automotive sector in several key areas to develop unique solutions and capabilities, such as lightweight materials, alternative propulsion systems and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

By offering extensive technology support and by establishing effective programs and mechanisms to transfer knowledge to this industry, NRC plays a key role in helping Canada remain on the leading edge of automotive innovation — especially as the concepts of "green" engineering and environmentally conscious products gain popularity.

NRC is not alone in this venture. The Government of Canada, through a partnership between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and NRC, is establishing a $145 million, five year, Automotive R&D Partnership Initiative to help the Canadian automotive sector address its innovation, productivity and competitiveness challenges through research and development.

As part of this initiative, NRC is building up its expertise in automotive materials and systems as part of the NRC Industrial Materials Institute laboratories located on the University of Western Ontario campus in London. NRC will work with Western, other universities and private sector companies to bring new employment opportunities to the region and contribute to the competitiveness of Canada's automotive industry sector.

NRC has also recently established a working relationship with GM Canada providing opportunities for both parties to partner in areas of mutual interest, such as hydrogen storage and composite materials manufacturing. This collaborative agreement will not only augment research and development programs in the Canadian automotive sector and support the industry going forward, but will also strongly benefit both GM and the Canadian automotive industry.

Moving ahead, NRC will continue to work in collaboration with its public, private and academic research partners to develop innovative capabilities for this highly competitive sector; and will persist in making a significant science and technology contribution through its highly qualified multidisciplinary competencies and its testing and manufacturing infrastructure facilities located across Canada.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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