Trade Minister Lord Digby Jones has helped to champion the cause of the West Midlands automotive sector during a visit to the Auto Expo event in Delhi.

Two companies from the region - Nuneaton-based Mira and Anochrome Group, from Wolverhampton - are exhibiting at the motor show.

The two companies form part of a wider UK business delegation to the exhibition, which is now an important part of the international auto calendar and highlights the huge opportunities present in India, which now produces one million passenger cars every year.

UK Trade & Investment, the UK Government's overseas development organisation, has organised a trade mission for some of the delegation and has funded a UK pavilion at the Auto Expo for other members.

Lord Jones said: "The West Midlands unquestionably remains the heart of the UK automotive manufacturing industry, with 40 per cent of automotive added value generated in this region.

"Mira is the cornerstone of the international design, development and test market for automakers around the world, while Anochrome Group are absolute masters in surface finishing and pre-applied coating for the automotive, aeros pace and telecommunications industries."

Lord Jones said the potential offered by the Indian market was huge and that British companies should use all opportunities to develop business in the region.

"It is a privilege to be representing the interests of British business at this event and the nice part is that Indian businesses want to invest in Britain.  They recognise that we have the necessary knowledge and expertise that is vital if their economy is to develop," he said.

Lord Jones said the visit to the show had also given him an opportunity to see for himself the impact Tata Motors was having on the automotive industry.

The company is the frontrunner to take over Jaguar and Land Rover and Lord Jones has already thrown his weight behind the company should its bid succeed.

"Tata offers a wealth of opportunities and should the bid succeed then it would also be good news for the West Midlands automotive industry.

"The company is well respected and takes its social responsibilities very seriously so whether its Castle Bromwich or Lode Lane, there is huge potential," he said.

During his visit to the motor show he also had the opportunity of seeing for himself the new Tata People's Car, the Nano.

The micro car, which will sell for the equivalent of s1,250 when it goes on sale later this year, is set to revolutionise the Indian motor industry and is designed to give scooter-owning families their first opportunity to own a car.

The UK delegation at the expo event will also, for the first time, participate in a number of seminars and conferences which surround the show. These included a day-long seminar on new technology from the UK.

"I am delighted that British companies will be able to showcase their strengths on this much deeper level. It will really allow them to highlight some of the most cutting edge developments in vehicle technologies such as fuel cell application, hybrid technology and safety engineering," said Lord Jones.