Toyota plans to export Sienna minivans build in the U.S. to Korea

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 2, 2011

As a consequence of the new U.S.-Korean free trade agreement, Toyota Motor Corp. will be exporting Sienna minivans built at its factory in Princeton, Ind., to distributors in South Korea. The company said that shipments will start in early November. It’s estimated that about 600 vehicles will be shipped each year.

Yoshimi Inaba, COO of Toyota Motor North America Inc., said that Toyota's North American operations continue to work to recognize and expand opportunities for the vehicles that are built there. This is the first time for the Sienna to be exported from North America.

Last September, Toyota was thinking about moving the assembly of the Camry mid-sized cars from Japan to the U.S. These Camrys are intended for South Korea. The automaker wants to cut costs due to a strengthening yen and because of a free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea.

In an e-mail, Toyota spokesman Javier Moreno said that while the company is considering the possibilities of exporting other Toyota vehicles built in the U.S., nothing concrete has been decided about future exports.

Other models that Toyota exports are the following: the Avalon sedan built in Georgetown, Ky., its Sequoia SUV assembled in Princeton, and Tacoma and Tundra pickups made in San Antonio, Texas.

Toyota had expressed its support of the free trade deal between the U.S. and South Korea. Moreno said that the plans for Sienna exports to South Korea were already in development before President Obama signed the free-trade agreement into law.

He emphasized that Toyota has been in full support of that bill. The statement further revealed that Toyota's exports increased by 30% in 2010 to around 100,000 units.

Toyota has taken the veil off its new third-generation Toyota Sienna minivan during a media conference at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto show. The third-generation minivan should continue the Toyota Sienna’s reputation as a unique, comfortable and efficient transportation solution. While its latest iteration is still as capable as a people and cargo mover, it looks and drives like a sedan.

In addition, the Toyota Sienna offers further personal comfort while allowing easy loading and handling of cargo. Compared to the previous generation, the new 2011 Sienna could be considered as a reinvention, able to do what is needed while become a more dynamic and more expressive vehicle that boasts of a more robust profile, more responsive handling and a high shoulder character.

Other than these, the new Toyota Sienna also comes with innovative features that customers will truly come to love. For the 2011 model year, the Sienna is offered in new models, including an SE and a four-cylinder powertrain.

Moreover, it is the only nameplate in the minivan segment offered an all-wheel-drive option. While the 2011 Toyota Sienna rides on a wheelbase that is as long as it its predecessor, it is wider and slightly shorter. The third-generation Toyota Sienna offers a good blend of contemporary styling and features not seen before in a minivan. It also offers that flexibility, spaciousness and fun-to-drive spirit typically found in minivans.

Customers could choose from five grades of the Toyota Sienna, all with a unique new visual direction as well as features. Exploring a more advanced and bold design, the third-generation Toyota Sienna features a sportier profile that is matched with characteristic window shapes. Designers collaborated with engineers to give the Toyota Sienna a high and wide shoulder where a hidden door slider could be embedded.

The wheels are visually highlighted by unique fender flares as well as dynamic high shoulder. Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager at Toyota Division, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., remarked that the 2011 Toyota Sienna represents the carmaker’s commitment to lead the automotive market while meeting the needs and lifestyles of its customers.

New Toyota Sienna was designed by the carmaker’s Calty Design Research and developed at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. It is being manufactured at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana.

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