A 2013 Honda Accord Sedan boarded a ship Tuesday at Port Hueneme in Ventura County, Calif., bound for Seoul, South Korea, officially becoming the 1 millionth Honda vehicle exported from the United States, according to a press release. The milestone comes 25 years after the first U.S.-made Honda automobile was exported overseas.
All four Honda auto plants in the U.S. produce vehicles for overseas export, so Honda associates from plants in Alabama, Indiana and Ohio were joined by Honda associates from California in celebrating the milestone vehicle as it was driven onboard the ship.
The 1 millionth Honda U.S. export vehicle, a silver Accord EX-L Sedan, rolled off the assembly line in Marysville, Ohio, on Dec. 5 before being transported to Port Hueneme, Calif., for export overseas. It now embarks on a nearly 6,000-mile journey across the Pacific Ocean to Seoul, South Korea, where the company recently began sales of its U.S.-made vehicles.
In addition, Alabama-made vehicles from Lincoln, including Odysseys and Pilots, were also loaded onto the ship destined for South Korea.
“Our 4,000 associates from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama take great pride in making high quality vehicles for our customers whether those customers are in Alabama, California, New York or overseas, such as South Korea,” said Ted Pratt, a spokesman for Honda. “It was an exciting and memorable site to witness our Pilots and Odysseys drive onto the giant cargo ship.”
Pratt joined Honda associates from Alabama, including Rhonda Taylor of Talladega, Ronnie Edge of Pell City and LaQuita Ivory of Birmingham.
Honda currently exports automobiles to 49 countries (Honda does not consider shipments from the U.S. to Canada as exports), with total exports expected to reach nearly 100,000 Honda and Acura vehicles from the U.S. in 2012.Within two years, Honda will export more vehicles built in its auto plants in North America than it imports from Japan.
“Honda is proud to make the phrase ‘Quality for the World, Made in the U.S.A.’ an important seal of approval for products made in America,” said James Burrell, assistant vice president of the Export Sales division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Our customers throughout the world love the quality of U.S.-built Honda and Acura vehicles.”
Since 1987, Honda has exported more than $22 billion worth of automobiles, as well as major component parts sets from suppliers in the U.S. that are used to produce automobiles at Honda plants overseas.
Honda recently marked its 30th anniversary of producing automobiles in America, becoming the first Japanese carmaker to make automobiles in America on Nov. 1, 1982. Five years later, Honda became the first international automaker to export U.S.-made automobiles to overseas markets when it began shipping Ohio-made Accords to Taiwan in fall 1987. A year later, Honda exported its first U.S.-made Accord Coupe to Japan.
With an investment of more than $2.2 billion in its North American operations over the past two years, Honda will increase automobile production capacity in North America from the current 1.63 million to 1.92 million units per year in 2014. As a result, in the coming years, annual exports of Honda and Acura automobiles from the U.S. are expected to far surpass the company’s previous single-year export record of 105,511 vehicles set in 1994.