By on September 26, 2011

This must be the oddest story of the day: According to conventional wisdom, the South Korean market is pretty much closed to American cars. “Not so,” says a company that makes a lot of cars in the U.S. The odd part: The company is Japanese. It’s Toyota. If The Nikkei [sub] has its facts and sources together, then Toyota will export Kentucky-made Camrys to South Korea.

According to The Nikkei, “the yen’s historic rise is causing Toyota foreign exchange losses on exports from Japan.” That we can believe without checking. The Nikkei also heard that “Toyota believes it would be less costly to export from the U.S. if a free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea is ratified that would eliminate tariffs between the two nations.”

That free trade agreement had been hammered-out last year, but it has yet to be ratified. If the pact gets the nod, then Toyota could ship the 5,000 Camrys it sold in South Korea in 2010 from Kentucky instead from Aichi. According to The Nikkei, it will be cheaper.

There are all kinds of car export numbers floating around on the internet, most of them wrong. The authoritative number comes from the U.S. Commerce Department which says that in 2010,  16,659 vehicles were exported from the U.S. to South Korea. Toyota could lift that number single-handedly above 20,000.

PS: Official comment from Toyota: “As this concerns future product plans,we would like to refrain from commenting.”



Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

11 Comments on “Toyota To Lift U.S. Car Exports To Korea By 30 Percent...”

  • avatar

    Those nice tall models make it seem the two dudes are standing in a hole.

  • avatar

    Well, hurrah for American exports. I’d like to see us on parity with the amount of imports we get from South Korea, but hey, this is a start.

    • 0 avatar

      You must mean percentage-wise since the Korean auto market is a lot smaller than that for the US.

      In fact, American brands have a higher share of the Korean market than Korean brands do in the US.

    • 0 avatar


      Daewoo has disappeared.

      GMKorea now sells Chevys (along w/ Cadillacs).

      Interesting enough, the Chevy brand is preferred; GMKorea does a good business selling Chevy rebadging kits for those who drive Daewoos.

    • 0 avatar

      well until american vehicles improve along the lines of quality control, fit and finish, and most of all design appeal, not to just focus groups around the country and elderly people, then countries will have a high desire for unattainable american made cars. Right now i bet if you ask a large group of foreigners not many would desire our american branded and american built cars like the Impala, Lucerne, HHR, Enclave, and Taurus.

      A lot of Korean vehicles are very eye catching and quite attractive, have proven reliability, continue to strive for the next level while burying their very rocky past, have wonderful customer service (depending on the dealership), have attractive prices, have great warranty deals that destroy the competition, low cost of maintenance, and have a very loyal customer following.
      I don’t get that same feeling with any american branded american manufacturers with exception to Ford finally understanding this philosophy and turning their company around.
      The Korean companies have learned to value customers since their wake up call back in 2003. The american companies not so much. They dump their vehicles on the consumers like guinea pigs and then whine when customers have a problem with something failing. the american car companies for a long time profited mostly on their service shops, not sales.
      Now you tell me what other country would want to deal with this mess when buying american? I am an american myself and will never buy an american branded american made car ever again from many past bad experiences.

      Whining about this so-called trade imbalance is like listening to the Chinese complain about not being able to dump their cars in our market. Not many here desire a car made in China much like not many foreigners that live in a developing or better country would desire an American branded American made car.

      Think about that before you find yet another forum to complain about something.

    • 0 avatar

      No one in their right minds outside of China/USA would buy a GM car, though.

  • avatar

    The guy on the left is not comfortable with the girl sooo close.

  • avatar

    Not to discount macro-economics, but…

    How the hell does this make sense? Isn’t the west coast of Japan only like 100mi from S Korea?

    And somehow it would be CHEAPER to import from Kentucky, despite near record oil prices? Simply due to tariffs?

    If that is the case, Japan needs to do something about the ‘rising’ Yen, AND/OR, the US needs to back up the Dollar with something tangible, like, oh I don’t know…GOLD?!

    P.S. Good for the US, although I don’t think all the robots working in the Kentucky plant will exactly be having beers over the news. Unless they are Bender from the show Futurama…

    • 0 avatar

      One of the ways that it makes sense, is to envisage a boat load of cars coming from Korean to USA.
      How does the boat go back? Empty or partially full. The cost of fuel between empty and partially full is very little.

      Mind you, if USA doesn’t lock down a FTA, then Australia will have its FTA up and running, and they make LHD Camrys also.. Lots of empty boats going from Australia to Korea!!

      Oh forgot to add, yes Tariff make a big difference for some countries. Might make a nice article to compare tariffs around the globe

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Superdessucke: You should get an electric Charger to charge your Challenger!
  • Art Vandelay: I like the C5 that I got when I unloaded the Challenger. It was a comfy cruiser, but it was no fun at...
  • ThomasSchiffer: When someone in Asia or Europe claims they will be happy with ‘200 miles’ of range, I believe they do...
  • ajla: I’ve been impressed by the longevity and simplicity of the 2.5L/6A combination. It is extremely off-brand...
  • Mike-NB2: I had a 2013 TDI and really liked it. It was conservatively styled, but looked good. I think that design...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber