CHICAGO Toyota Motor Corp. has begun exporting American-built Venza crossover vehicles to its distributor in South Korea, according to Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. senior vice president Bob Carter. The automaker plans to export about 600 Venzas annually.
Shipments from Toyotas Georgetown, Ky., facilitythe automakers largest manufacturing facility outside Japanbegan last month, Carter said. It is the first time the U.S.-built Venza has been exported outside North America.
The Toyota City, Japan-based automaker began exporting U.S.-built vehicles in 1988 and now ships them to 21 countries. Such exports are expected to total 130,000 vehicles this year, a 52-percent increase from 2011 and an all-time high for the automaker.
The company began exporting Indiana-assembled Sienna minivans and Kentucky-assembled Camry sedans to South Korea last year. It also exports the Avalon sedan and Highlander and Sequoia SUVs from Indiana and Kentucky and the Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks produced in Texas.
U.S. exports help to "maintain Toyotas strong, stable base of U.S. jobs," Carter said. "We look forward to other opportunities to continue expanding exports from our American operations."