Toyota Motor Corp, Japan’s largest carmaker plans to build more Lexus RX premium sport-utility vehicles for North America in Canada to avoid the impact of the strong yen that makes Japanese vehicles more expensive.
The Japanese giant operates the Ontario factory – the only factory outside Japan that makes Lexus vehicles. Last year the plant produced 65,000 RX SUVs, the best-selling Lexus model globally.
Last month Toyota said it will transfer its Yaris compact car production for North America to France from Japan in May next year, marking the first time the company will export cars from Europe to that market.
The move by Toyota follows plans by domestic rivals Honda Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co and Mazda Motor Corp to open new factories in Mexico to serve North America and reduce loss-making exports from Japan.
All three of Japan’s biggest auto companies—Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co.—have been slowly shifting production abroad over the past decade, reflecting the yen’s rise against other currencies and faster growth in overseas markets.
Japanese companies have also been hit by an electricity power crunch because of the nuclear crisis caused by the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.