American Honda has announced it now exports more vehicles from the US than it imports from Japan. Figures for last year show that the Japanese carmaker’s US division exported more than 108,700 Honda and Acura vehicles of a total production figure of more than 1.3m units (and almost 1.8m for wider North America). Meanwhile, it imported around 88,500 from Japan to the US.

Honda’s main export markets from the US include Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, among the 50 countries to which it sends vehicles. It’s top three export routes (of the nine it uses) are by ocean vessel via the ports of Jacksonville in Florida and Baltimore in Maryland, and by rail to Mexico.

Honda began exports from the US in 1987 and reached the 1m-unit mark in cumulative exports in late 2012. 

"The achievement of this tremendous milestone is a result of the efforts of the tens of thousands of associates in America who develop and produce our vehicles and those who manage the export of these products to customers in global markets," said Tetsuo Iwamura, president & CEO of Honda North America.

According to Honda it has invested more than $2.7 billion during the last three years to expand its North American production operations, of which there are currently seven. However, next month, production of the Honda Fit will begin in Celaya, Mexico, taking the number to eight. When that happens it will have the capability to build almost every product in its lineup in North America, from sub-compact models to light trucks.

According to the company it was the only automaker to have three car lines – Civic, CR-V and Accord – sell more than 300,000 units in the US in 2013, all of which are manufactured in North America.

Almost 95% of the Honda and Acura cars and trucks sold in North America are made locally.

"In just a few decades, the expansion of free trade and growth in US operations has transformed Honda from importing 100% of the cars sold in the US to establishing the US as an export and production hub," said Rick Schostek, senior vice president of Honda North America.