For a variety of reasons, most of which have to do with a number of different taxes and tariffs on imports, South Korea is dominated by local makers such as Hyundai and Kia, but recently, foreign companies have made attempts to slowly penetrate the country’s tightly controlled car market.
Today, Toyota announced plans to begin exports of its U.S.-built Sienna minivan to distributors in South Korea with first shipments scheduled to arrive later this month.
Toyota entered the South Korean market for the first time in 2010, though the firm’s Lexus luxury brand has been active in the country since 2001.
This is the first time that the Sienna, which is produced at Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Princeton, Indiana, will be exported outside of North America. Toyota said that the initial plan calls for the export of approximately 600 units annually.
The Japanese brand began exporting U.S.-built vehicles in 1988 and in the 2010 calendar year, it shipped around 100,000 vehicles to 18 countries around the world.
“Toyota’s North American operations are constantly working to identify and expand new export opportunities for the vehicles we produce here, building on our extensive investments in auto production, research and development in the U.S. and helping to maintain a strong, stable base of jobs,” said Yoshimi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
“With this development and other possible achievements in the future, we hope to continue boosting exports from our North American operations.”