9:36am

Tue December 6, 2011
Business and the Economy

Kentucky-Made Camry Sedans Korea Bound

Toyota announced Monday plans to export U.S.-built Camry sedans to its distributor in South Korea. The Camry has been the top selling car in America for 13 of the past 14 years and a best-selling car worldwide. This is the first time the U.S.-assembled Camry will be exported outside of North America, Toyota said. The vehicles are scheduled to arrive in South Korea beginning in January.

Rick Hesterberg, spokesman for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, said all 6,000 of the Camry's expected to be sent to South Korea each year will come from the plant in Georgetown.

"What this does is broaden our customer base for our products," he said. "It's good for the long-term sustainability for our operation here."

Toyota began exporting U.S.-assembled vehicles in 1988. The exports increased 30 percent in 2010 to about 100,000 units.

The automaker began exporting Indiana-made Sienna minivans to South Korea last month. Other exports include the Kentucky-produced Avalon sedan, the Indiana-produced Sequoia SUV and the Texas-produced Tacoma and Tundra pick-up trucks.

Hesterberg said the South Korean auto market is one Toyota "has a great interest in."

The redesigned 2012 Camry was unveiled at Georgetown in August and company officials say sales have been strong.

"We are pleased with the reaction that the redesigned Camry is receiving from our customers, and the sales success it is having in the U.S. and overseas," Yoshimi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, said in a statement.
Toyota exports U.S.-assembled vehicles to 19 countries around the world.

"The export of thousands of Camry vehicles to South Korea is an important development that builds on the great work of our talented U.S. team members as well as our extensive investments across North America to help maintain a strong, stable base of U.S. jobs," Inaba said. "We look forward to other opportunities to continue growing exports from our American operations."