Honda expects to be net exporter from North America within 2 yrs

DETROIT Wed Dec 5, 2012 8:07pm EST

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DETROIT Dec 5 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co, maker of the best-selling Civic compact car, expects that within two years it will export more cars and light trucks built at its seven North America plants than it imports from Japan and that those factories will take on a larger role in global product development.

The Japanese automaker said in a statement on Wednesday that at the same time, operations in North America would assume a "larger responsibility for the introduction of global automobiles sold in multiple countries."

Honda began exporting vehicles from the United States in 1987. The company said it expects those exports to reach about 100,000 Honda and Acura vehicles this year.

Over the last two years, Honda has poured more than $2.2 billion into its North American operations. Its production capacity in the region will increase 18 percent to 1.92 million vehicles annually by 2014.

Due to the additional production capacity, annual exports of Honda and Acura vehicles are expected to "far surpass" Honda's export record of 105,511 set in 1994, the company said.

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