Toyota has plans to begin exporting the new Toyota Camry to South Korea by January, reports the Detroit Free Press. U.S.-made Camrys will be exported. Stronger yen values and a desire for reciprocation after Americans purchased Kias and Hyundais helped fuel the decision.
Sending 6,000 Camrys per year
The 7,000 workers at the Toyota assembly plant in Georgetown, Ky., and the Subaru of Indiana plant in Lafayette will produce 6,000 Toyota Camry vehicles per year that will be sent to South Korea as a part of the active free trade agreement between nations. This is the first time the Camry has been shipped outside of North America.
The Camry, which has been the automaker’s best-selling car in America for 13 of the past 14 years, will be the second U.S.-made Toyota model exported to South Korea. Toyota began to ship the Sienna minivan that is assembled in Princeton, Ind., in November.
“The export of thousands of Camry vehicles to South Korea is an important development that builds on the work of our talented U.S. team members as well as our extensive investments across North America,” said Toyota Motor North America president and CEO Yoshimi Inaba via a press statement.
The successful renewal of the United Auto Workers contract has made the United States’ fulfillment of such free trade agreements with South Korea and other nations that much easier. At this time, the Toyota Camry is assembled by non-union workers, the Free Press notes.
President Obama is hopeful that such agreements will create new jobs on U.S. soil.
“If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers,” said the president before a September joint session of Congress. “I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with the three proud words: ‘Made in America.'”
Plans developed before the free trade agreement
Even before plans to export Camrys to South Korea were made official, the exchange was under way, said Toyota spokesman Javier Moreno.
“The recent appreciation of the [Japanese] yen has made it challenging for us to export vehicles from Japan,” Moreno said.
The yen’s appreciation created additional cost when exporting directly from Japan. Hence, shipping from areas like Kentucky became more desirable, despite the 7,000-mile trip.