By Mark Rechtin, Crain News Service
LOS ANGELES (Feb. 7, 2014) — Honda Motor Co. Ltd. exported more vehicles from its U.S. factories in 2013 than it imported into America from Japan—a first for the auto maker.
Honda exported 108,705 U.S.-made Honda and Acura vehicles, compared with the 88,537 it brought in from Japan.
“Achieving net-exporter status is a natural result of our commitment and investment in the U.S. and North America,” said Tetsuo Iwamura, president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co. Inc., in a prepared statement.
Honda launched automobile exports from the U.S. in 1987 and by late 2012 had shipped 1 million cars and light trucks overseas from its U.S. plants.
The car maker set calendar-year records for automobile production at plants in North America, producing 1.78 million Honda and Acura automobiles in 2013, up 5 percent over 2012. Honda's U.S. factories produced a record 1.3 million automobiles last year, a 7-percent increase over 2012.
Honda was the first Japanese auto maker to manufacture vehicles in the U.S. when it opened an assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio, in 1982 to build the Accord.
Nearly 95 percent of the Honda and Acura cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. are assembled in North America, the company said.
In March, assembly of the Honda Fit will begin in Celaya, Mexico. It will be Honda's eighth auto assembly plant in North America, boosting annual production capacity to 1.92 million units.
Honda's U.S. exports are sold in more than 50 countries, with Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates topping the list.
This report appeared in Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.