Honda Motor Company is seeking to transform its production facilities in North America into an exporting base for overseas markets, as the carmaker tries to expand its production capabilities outside of Japan.
The reason for this is the strong yen, which is eating Honda’s profit margins from cars it exports from Japan. “Right now, we are asking the U.S. to take on a lot of our production, and exports as well,” Honda CEO Takanobu Ito was quoted as saying by Automotive News. “Already they have been doing some exports to the Middle East, but we are asking them to do more exports around the world,” Ito added.
However, Honda representatives decline to say how many vehicles the carmaker plans to export from North America. In 2010, Honda exported 32,978 cars from its U.S. plants to more than 20 countries. Currently, Honda’s Japanese plants make 1.2 million to 1.3 million cars each year, of which 300,000 – 350,000 cars are exported around the world (25 percent). Honda’s CEO wants that share reduced to somewhere between 10 and 20 percent.
“So even while the Japanese market is shrinking, we are going to try to reduce the amount of exports from Japan. We are trying to optimize our volume of exports,” Ito said.