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Toyota exporting Georgetown-built Venzas to South Korea

Photographers crowded around as the Toyota Venza was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2008. Production of the crossover vehicle began at the Georgetown plant in November 2008.
Photographers crowded around as the Toyota Venza was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2008. Production of the crossover vehicle began at the Georgetown plant in November 2008. AP

LOS ANGELES — Toyota is making good on a plan to boost U.S. exports by shipping Kentucky-built Venzas to South Korea, helping Asia's largest carmaker maximize use of factories in North America and blunt the yen's impact.

The company's plant in Georgetown is producing a version of the midsize wagon for South Korea, where it already sends U.S.-produced Camry sedans and Sienna minivans, Toyota said Wednesday in a statement. Toyota expects exports of U.S.-built vehicles to reach a record, increasing 52 percent this year to more than 130,000 cars and trucks, the company said.

Toyota, along with Honda and Nissan, has been shifting more production to North America to counter the yen's almost 30 percent rise against the dollar in the past five years. Toyota moved a Corolla small-car plant in Mississippi, moved Highlander sport-utility vehicle production to Indiana and expanded Lexus RX SUV output in Canada.

The initial goal is to send about 600 Venzas annually to South Korea, Toyota said. The company said it currently sends U.S.-made models, including Tacoma and Tundra pickups, and Highlander and Sequoia SUVs, to 21 countries.

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