UPDATED: 1/28/14 8:44 am ET - details added
LOS ANGELES -- Honda Motor Co. exported more vehicles from its U.S. factories in 2013 than it imported into America from Japan -- a first for the automaker.
Honda exported 108,705 U.S.-made Honda and Acura vehicles, compared with the 88,537 it brought in from Japan.
"Achieving net-exporter status is a natural result of our commitment and investment in the U.S. and North America," Tetsuo Iwamura, president and CEO of Honda North America, said in a statement.
Honda launched automobile exports from the United States in 1987 and by late 2012 had shipped one million cars and light trucks overseas from its U.S. plants.
Honda set calendar-year records for automobile production at plants in North America and the United States.
In North America, Honda's 2013 production rose 5 percent to 1.78 million Honda and Acura automobiles in 2013. Honda's U.S. factories produced a record 1.3 million automobiles last year, a 7 percent increase over 2012.
Honda was the first Japanese automaker to manufacture vehicles in the United States when it opened an assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio, in 1982 to build the Accord.
Nearly 95 percent of the Honda and Acura cars and light trucks sold in the United States are assembled in North America, the company said today in a statement.
Next month, assembly of the Honda Fit will begin in Celaya, Mexico. It will be Honda's eighth auto assembly plant in North America, boosting annual production capacity to 1.92 million units.
Honda's U.S. exports are sold in more than 50 countries, with Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates topping the list.