The two Japanese automakers set production records at their North American auto-assembly plants last year even as the yen weakened against the dollar for a second consecutive year.
Honda made 1.78 million Honda and Acura autos in North America, while Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, built 1.86 million Toyota and Lexus cars and light trucks at its US, Canadian and Mexican plants. While records in US sales didn’t match the gains, exports expanded to markets including South Korea and Latin America.
Toyota and Honda, along with Nissan, kept expanding North American vehicle and component plants as insulation against currency swings that can make imports unprofitable, and to avoid over-reliance on parts sourced overseas. Natural disasters in Asia in 2011 that shut down some parts makers led to weeks of stalled North American output for the companies.
Toyota’s Camry sedan, built both in Georgetown and Lafayette, Indiana, under contract at Fuji Heavy Industries Inc.’s Subaru plant, kept its title as top-selling US car for a 12th year in a row in 2013.
Still, it fell behind Honda’s Accord in North American production last year. Honda built 466,695 units of the mid-size model in Marysville last year, compared with 445,973 for Camry, according to the company releases. Accord output jumped 17 % from 400,143 a year ago, Honda said.