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Honda to export more vehicles from North America

by Andrew Ganz

Honda will begin exporting more cars from its assembly plants in North America.

Faced with the need to overcome currency fluctuations, Honda says that it will begin leveraging some of its North American assembly facilities to produce vehicles for export outside of this region.

The Japanese automaker, like its home market rivals, has been reducing export output of its domestic assembly plants in response to a strong yen that inhibits vehicle profitability overseas.

"Right now, we are asking the U.S. to take on a lot of our production, and exports as well," said Honda CEO Takanobu Ito in an interview with Automotive News. "Already they have been doing some exports to the Middle East, but we are asking them to do more exports around the world."

Honda has not said just how much it plans to increase exportation from its plants in the United States in Canada. Last year, it sent 32,978 cars from its plants in the U.S. to 20 different countries, while its Japanese plants have routinely sent more than 300,000 cars overseas.

Ito said that Honda will cut Japanese plant exportation to around 10 to 20 percent of total output compared to today's roughly 25 percent.

The automaker's North American market president, Tetsuo Iwamura, says that no other North American assembly plants are planned. Honda recently opened a plant in Indiana and the company is set to begin production at a new plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, in 2014. Iwamura did, however, add that Honda bought enough land adjacent to its Indiana and Mexico plants that it could expand operations if needed.

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