Toyota to Ship U.S.-Built Venza Wagons to Russia, China

Toyota Motor Corp. will broaden exports of U.S.-built vehicles by shipping Venza wagons produced in Kentucky to Russia, Ukraine and China later this year.

Production of Venzas for Russia and Ukraine in Georgetown, Kentucky, start in April, the company said in a statement yesterday. The initial goal is to send a combined 5,000 annually to those markets, it said. Shipments to China of the wagon, which is derived from the Camry sedan, are also planned, with details to be announced soon, Javier Moreno, a Toyota spokesman, said without elaborating.

Those exports “further solidify our U.S. manufacturing base,” Shigeki Terashi, Toyota’s North American president and chief operating officer, said in the statement. The world’s largest automaker said it sent more than 124,000 U.S.-built autos to global markets in 2012, up 45 percent from a year earlier and a record for the Toyota City, Japan-based company.

Toyota began shipping Venzas to South Korea last year following exports of Camrys to that market in an effort to maximize use of North American factories and blunt the impact of a strong yen. Japan’s Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. likewise are expanding overseas shipments of North American-produced autos three decades after opening plants in the region to meet U.S. demand.

The stock fell 2 percent to 4,620 yen at 11 a.m. in Tokyo trading, trimming its gain this year to 15 percent. Toyota climbed 56 percent last year.

Japan’s Nikkei newspaper said Toyota will export several thousand Venzas to China annually, citing no one. Moreno couldn’t immediately comment on the report.

Toyota’s North American corporate unit is based in New York, with U.S. sales operations headquartered in Torrance, California.