CHICAGO Toyota Motor North America Inc. will begin shipping Venza models assembled at its Georgetown, Ky., plant to Russia and Ukraine this year.
Toyota last year shipped more than 124,000 U.S.-built light vehiclesa company recordto 21 countries, it said. That marked a 45-percent increase from 2011 levels.
"We are proud that Toyotas U.S. manufacturing operations are continuing to grow as a key supplier of vehicles for global markets," president and chief operating officer Shigeki Terashi said. "We expect the export of Venza vehicles to Russia and Ukraine will help further solidify our U.S. manufacturing base."
Once production begins in April, Toyota expects to ship about 5,000 of the Venza models to Russia and Ukraine in its first year of sales. Georgetown, which employs about 6,600 workers and represents a $6-billion investment, is Toyotas largest assembly plant outside Japan.