The company exports to more than 50 right hand-drive markets in South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This year the company will export about 100,000 vehicles from the US with its current stated goal to reach 200,000 annually over the next several years.
“Since our new Mexican plant will be serving all of North and South America, that figure of 20% is a possibility if you count exports from each of the three North American countries where we produce: the U.S., Canada and Mexico,” said a spokesperson for American Honda.
As part of the plans the company is relocating engineering responsibilities for its top selling Civic compact sedan to the US.
The Japanese carmaker’s CEO Takanobu Ito said the export goals were part of a broader shift in production strategy away from Japan to curtail the effects of the Japanese yen. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal this week Ito said that “[t]he old structure of relying on Japan as chief export platform was unnatural”.
The comments build on reports that Honda is planning to halve the number of vehicles it exports from Japan over the next decade in an effort to tackle damaging currency fluctuations that have hit the company with the rise of the yen. The free trade agreement between the US and South Korea has also provided an added incentive.
Honda currently exports just under 40% of its Japanese output but has already stated it plans to reduce this to between 10-20%.
The company is also increasing its export of major auto parts from the US by almost 70% this year in support of Honda plants in South America, Europe and Asia. This, it said, will be a substantial increase in business for North American suppliers, something that will increase in the coming years.
At the beginning of November the carmaker celebrated its 30th year of production in the US. With the latest $200m investment at the Anna Engine Plant and Honda Transmission Manufacturing, Honda's US capital investment exceeds $12.5 billion.
The company has steadily grown its US manufacturing, R&D and sales operations, and now has a workforce of 26,000 across nine manufacturing plants and 15 R&D facilities, including four assembly plants with an annual capacity of 1.08m Honda and Acura vehicles.
In the last two years, it has invested more than $2 billion in manufacturing in North America and is investing $800m for a new automobile plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, planned to have an annual capacity of 200,000 units for the production of subcompact vehicles beginning with Honda Fit production in 2014.