UPDATE 1-Toyota mulls shifting Korea-bound Camry output-Nikkei

Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:03am EDT

(Adds details, company comment)

TOKYO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp is considering shifting production of South Korea-bound Camry autos to the United States from Japan to help lower export costs of the sedan, the Nikkei business daily reported on Monday.

A historically strong yen, which is pressuring Japan's export-oriented manufacturers, and a free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea have led the automaker to mull the move to reduce costs, the Nikkei said.

Toyota is considering producing its new Camry model, which is scheduled to be launched in South Korea in 2012, at its Kentucky factory, the newspaper said.

A Toyota spokesman declined to comment on the report.

Despite the soaring yen, which erodes Japanese exporters' foreign earnings and makes their goods more expensive overseas, Toyota has pledged to keep a minimum level of production at home to protect Japanese manufacturing.

On Monday, the yen was trading around 76.40 to the dollar, not far from its record high of 75.94 hit last month.

Toyota sold a little over 4,200 Camrys last year in South Korea, making it one of the top-selling foreign cars in the country, a stronghold of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors . (Reporting by James Topham and Kentaro Sugiyama in Tokyo, Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul; Editing by Chris Gallagher)