Toyota to ship US-built cars to Russia, Ukraine

Toyota will begin exporting US-built cars to Russia and Ukraine in the coming months, the Japanese automaker said Tuesday.

The decision marks the first time Toyota has exported US-built vehicles to Europe, where it also has a significant manufacturing presence.

Tuesday’s announcement comes after Toyota’s US exports hit a new record by jumping 45 per cent to more than 124,000 vehicles in 2012.

“We’ll continue to look for (export) opportunities in Europe whether it be for Venza or other models,” Toyota spokesman Javier Moreno told AFP.

Toyota will begin shipments of the 2013 Venza sport utility vehicle shortly after production begins in April.  It expects to export about 5,000 Venzas to Russia and Ukraine in the first year of sales.

The expansion will bring the number of countries to which Toyota exports US-built vehicles to 23.