The Peugeot Partnership, the organisation set up to absorb the impact of the car manufacturer's closure of Ryton, will hold its first official meeting tomorrow.

The group is made up of business leaders and public figures who want to ensure that the workers at Peugeot are given the best possible opportunities to move into highly-skilled new employment.

The partnership is also intending to put initiatives into place that mean the economy in Coventry and Warwickshire is not hit by the closure.

Brian Woods-Scawen, Peugeot Partnership chairman who is also chairman of Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership, said: "A joined-up approach is the only way Coventry, Warwickshire and the sub-region is going to absorb the blow it received last week.

"I was delighted by the immediate response from local business, local authorities and education establishments and we held a meeting straight away.

"A great deal of work has gone on since that meeting but this is our first chance to get together now that the dust has settled and we will be planning a way forward for the 2,300 workers after the plant has closed.

"Our pledge to them is to give them the very best opportunity to find new, skilled employment, to be re-trained or to set up their own business."

Other agencies involved in the Peugeot Partnership include the Learning & Skills Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Job Centre Plus, Advantage West Midlands, the Government Office for the West Midlands, the DTI, Coventry University and the University of Warwick and the sub-region's local authorities Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Rugby Borough Council. The meeting is at the Council House in Coventry.

Meanwhile the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders was positive about the future of the British automotive industry despite the Ryton announcement.

Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the industry body, said: "With the sad news at Ryton and TVR this month, we might be tempted to conclude that car making is in terminal decline.

"Yet the truth is very different. Production is increasing at key UK plants and these latest figures reveal the first month-on-month rise in total car output this year. We should remain positive for the future."

Mr Macgowan was speaking as total UK car production increased by 3.5 per cent in March to 158,800 models, although the year to date figure slipped 5.5 per cent to 409,000. The total number of cars for export rose by 8.8 per cent to 119,700 cars, but the number of cars for the home market slipped 9.8 per cent to 39,000.

Meanwhile the number of commercial vehicles built in the UK increased by 4.1 per cent in March to 180,000, although in the year to date figures were still 4.4 per cent behind 2005's numbers at 466,800. The number of commercial vehicles for export rose by 10.6 per cent to 133,400, although models for the home market fell by 7.5 per cent to 46,660.

Mr Macgowan said: "This week has seen the launch of significant new UK-built trucks and vans at the Commercial Vehicle Show."