By THEODORE OPARA
Toyota said it has began exporting US assembled Venza crossovers to its distributor in South Korea last month. Venza exports to South Korea are initially forecasted at approximately 600 units annually. The announcement was made by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. Senior Vice President, Bob Carter at the Barclays Capital Global Automotive Conference.
These Venza vehicles will be produced by team members at Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Ky. The plant is Toyota’s largest manufacturing facility outside of Japan, employing about 6,600 team members directly and creating nearly 20,000 additional jobs with vendors and suppliers in Kentucky and other states in the region.
This is the first time the U.S-assembled Venza will be exported outside of North America.
Toyota began exporting U.S.-assembled vehicles in 1988, and now exports U.S-assembled vehicles to 21 countries around the world. These exports are expected to increase in calendar year 2012 to more than 130,000 units, 52 per cent increase from last year and an all-time high for Toyota.
The company began exporting Indiana-assembled Sienna minivans and Kentucky-assembled Camry sedans to South Korea last year. Other exports include the Kentucky-produced Avalon sedan, the Indiana-produced Highlander and Sequoia SUVs and the Texas-produced Tacoma and Tundra pick-up trucks.
“We are proud that Venza, designed, engineered and assembled in the U.S., has garnered so much interest not only here, but abroad.
“The export of Venza vehicles to South Korea helps maintain Toyota’s strong, stable base of U.S. jobs, and is the result of the great work of our talented U.S. team members and our extensive investments across North America. We look forward to other opportunities to continue expanding exports from our American operations,”said Mr. Carter.
Venza exports to South Korea will ship from the Port of Hueneme, near Oxnard, Calif.