CHICAGO -- As Honda (IW 1000/30) works to become a net exporters of automobiles from North America within the next two years, the company announced on Wednesday that exports from its U.S. plants reached 1 million vehicles.
The one millionth vehicle -- a silver 2013 Honda Accord EX-L sedan -- rolled off the line at the automaker's plant in Marysville, California and will be shipped to South Korea.
The milestone comes 30 years after Honda became the first Japanese automaker to build a manufacturing plant in the United States.
It began exporting vehicles and components from the U.S. in 1987 and has since racked up $22 billion in export sales.
"Quality for the world, made in America, has been an important Honda commitment for the past 25 years," said Takanobu Ito, Honda's chief executive officer.
"In the coming years, we will take on the challenge of helping even more customers around the world enjoy Honda products made in the USA."
Honda expects to export 100,000 vehicles from the United States to 40 different countries this year, as the region takes on a larger responsibility for the introduction of global automobiles.
By 2014, it aims to expand its capacity in North American 1.92 million vehicles per year, up from the current capacity of 1.63 million vehicles, with $2.2 billion in plant investments made over the past two years.
The increase will allow Honda to cut its import of Japanese-made vehicles to just 10% of U.S. sales by 2014.
Honda has also exported 2.5 million power equipment and sports products, like lawn mowers and off-road vehicles, produced in its U.S. plants.
Honda established its sales operations in the United States in 1959 and now employs 26,000 people in its manufacturing, research and development and sales operations.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012