More than 30 years after it began building cars in the U.S., the
company's North American arm said it shipped 108,705 Honda and Acura
brand vehicles out of the U.S. in 2013. The company imported 88,537
vehicles into the U.S. from Japan.
Rick Schostek, Honda North America's executive vice president, told
reporters on a conference call the milestone was "one that's been 30
years in the making". The exported vehicles carried a value of
The net exporter status is also the product of significant recent
investment — Honda has put more than $2.7 billion into expanding its
North American auto plants in the past three years. That's part of a
strategy designed to boost production in the U.S. and make cars
close to the markets where they are sold, said Schostek.
Honda shipped from U.S. plants last year to 50 countries, but most
of the exports went to Mexico. Honda did not include shipments to
Canada in its U.S. export figures.
Having begun importing the gas-sipping subcompact Civic into the
U.S. in 1973, Honda began making cars in the country in 1982. Its
Marysville, Ohio, plant, was the first to be owned by a Japanese
auto company in the U.S., and the Accord sedan was the first model
to roll off its assembly line.
The company now has seven auto assembly plants in North America,
including four in the United States. An eighth plant in Celaya in
Mexico opens next month, making the Honda Fit subcompact.
From 1987 to 2012, 1 million Honda vehicles were exported after
production at U.S. plants. In 1988, it exported an Accord Coupe to
Japan for the first time, but the company now does not export any
U.S.-made products to its home base in Japan.
The 2013 numbers marked a significant switch from a year earlier as
Honda stepped up investment and production. In 2012, Honda imports
to the U.S. market were about 136,000, outnumbering exports from its
U.S. of about 74,000.
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Honda also set a record last year for the number of vehicles it
built at U.S. plants, about 1.3 million. Including plants in Canada
and Mexico, Honda made 1.78 million vehicles in North America.
Honda's trend toward increasing its exports from U.S. and North
American plants will continue in the next few years, Schostek said.
The gap in favor of imports to the U.S. market was substantially
wider just five years ago, when 187,000 Honda and Acura vehicles
came into the U.S. market while only about 20,000 were exported.
The weaker yen had little impact on imports from Japan in the U.S.
market, primarily due to the long-term strategy of localized
production, Honda said.
Schostek said boosting U.S. exports by the company is aided by the
increasing reliance on U.S.-based research and development of Honda
and Acura vehicles sold in North America. A third of the Honda and
Acura vehicles sold in the U.S. were designed and developed there,
Honda says that 95 percent of the vehicles it sells in North America
are made at local plants.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; editing by
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