Toyota has begun exports of its Sienna minivan from the US to South Korea, the first time that the Sienna has been exported outside of the country.
Toyota Motor North America began the shipments from the port of Hueneme in September. The company is targeting the shipment of around 600 vehicles per year manufactured at its Princeton facility in Indiana. The carmaker uses Norfolk Southern railway from the plant and transfers to Union Pacific, which delivers them to California. From the port of Hueneme NYK Line will take the vehicles to Pyeongtaek port in South Korea.
The addition of South Korea means that Toyota will now be exporting US-assembled vehicles to 19 countries around the world. Thanks in part to the strength of the Japanese, the company has sought to increase production and exports from other countries, including the US. The company reported a 30% increase in the number of US assembled vehicles exported overseas last year, equal to around 100,000.
Earlier this year, Nancy Davies, vice president of Toyota Logistics Services, told Automotive Logistics that Toyota’s target was to grow US exports to 200,000 vehicles per year, with expectations to grow in markets including South Korea, South America, Russia and Australia.
Toyota said the move was not prompted by the recent signing in mid-October of the long-awaited free trade agreement between the US and South Korea, which will reduce import tariffs over time for vehicle imports between the countries, and that plans for the exports were in place prior to the signing.