NEW YORK — Toyota said Monday that it plans to export Kentucky-built Camry sedans to its distributor in South Korea.
The Japanese automaker said it expects to initially export about 6,000 vehicles, which will be assembled at the plant in Georgetown, its largest in North America.
The Camry is one of Toyota's top-selling cars, in the United States and around the world. This is the first time the U.S.-assembled Camry will be exported outside of North America, The Associated Press reported. The vehicles are scheduled to arrive in South Korea beginning in January, Toyota said.
Toyota began exporting U.S.-assembled vehicles in 1988. The exports increased 30 percent in 2010 to about 100,000 units, and Toyota now exports U.S.-assembled vehicles to 19 countries.
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The automaker began exporting Indiana-made Sienna minivans to South Korea last month. Other exports include the Kentucky-produced Avalon sedan, the Indiana-produced Sequoia SUV and the Texas-produced Tacoma and Tundra pick-up trucks.
Camry exports to South Korea will ship from the Port of Hueneme, near Oxnard, Calif., Toyota said.
Last week, Toyota and BMW announced that the German automaker would supply Toyota Motor Corp. with diesel engines and jointly develop car batteries as part of a comprehensive technology alliance.
The deal, which began Saturday, highlights the importance of environmentally sustainable technology in the auto industry, as well as the ballooning costs of developing multiple powertrains when customer preferences remain varied, The New York Times reported.
Toyota, whose strength lies in gasoline-electric hybrid technology, has struggled in Europe, where diesel power has led the way in fuel-efficient cars.
Meanwhile, BMW, the world's biggest maker of luxury cars, has experience with diesel but had fallen behind bigger rivals in hybrid systems and lithium-ion batteries, which remain difficult and expensive to produce.
BMW will supply Toyota with 1.6- and 2.0-liter engines for its models in Europe beginning in 2014, the automakers said in a statement.
The two companies also will jointly develop next-generation lithium-ion batteries, used in laptop computers and electric cars.