Toyota will begin shipping the Camry sedan from its Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant to South Korea – part of its continuing effort to offset a painful shift in exchange rates making it increasingly difficult to export from Japan.
The maker also will be shipping minivans from the U.S. to Korea. The significant increase in shipping costs will be more than offset by more favorable exchange rates, however. The yen has risen in value by nearly a third over the past year and is now trading in the range of 75 to the dollar.
The decision to move both Camry and Sienna production from Japan to the U.S. underscores the continued hollowing out of the Japanese automotive production base – despite promises by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda to maintain manufacturing operations in the home market. But manufacturers like Toyota and Honda have been forced to respond to not only the rising yen but also the risk of natural disasters that can devastate the island nation – like the earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11 bringing Japanese automotive production to a halt.