It's the latest milestone in the steady rise of the so-called transplant automakers at the expense of the Detroit 3.
After opening several large plants in recent years — and with more under construction in the U.S. and Mexico — the transplants are expected to account for more than half of North American auto production for the first time in 2018.
In 2017, domestic manufacturers represented 50.7 percent of production, to 49.3 percent for foreign automakers. A decade ago, Detroit led handily, 63-37.
And the trend is showing no signs of letting up. BMW and Toyota Motor Corp. are building plants in central Mexico, while Volvo Cars plans to open its first U.S. plant, this summer in South Carolina. Toyota and Mazda Motor Corp. last week chose Alabama for a plant they intend to open in 2021.
The building boom, supported largely by rising exports from North America, is expected to push production higher in the coming years, even as U.S. auto sales decline. Exports to other continents rose to 1.4 million vehicles in 2017 from 1.3 million in 2016, according to IHS Markit, which projects that figure to eventually top 2 million.
"Until 2016, the high seas were raising everything. That's not the case anymore," said Joe Langley, IHS' associate director of North American forecasting. "This highlights how North America is much more globally engaged now. It used to be that a lot of what we did here just stayed here."
Product launches also are pushing output higher. IHS expects 24 North American-built vehicle introductions in 2018, with nine of those being built here for the first time. Those nine vehicles are expected to generate about 150,000 units of incremental production.
Overall, IHS predicts production will rise 1.4 percent in 2018, to roughly 17.4 million vehicles, from 17.17 million last year.