DETROIT, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- The number of U.S.-built cars and trucks exported from the United States is at record levels and could reach 2 million in 2013, automakers said.
The Commerce Department said about 1.8 million vehicles assembled in the United States, worth approximately $132.7 billion, were shipped to foreign countries last year, but the automotive trade deficit still topped $100 billion with imports exceeding exports.
The Detroit Three -- Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC -- account for more than 50 percent of U.S. automotive exports this year, the Detroit News said, with the remainder of the outgoing vehicles built at U.S. plants owned by Japanese, South Korean and German auto companies.
Forty-nine percent of all U.S. automotive exports stay in North America, crossing the border to Mexico or Canada, but shipments to China are growing quickly to more than 10 percent of exports.
Other growing markets for U.S.-built vehicles include South America, Africa and the Middle East.
Ford exported 370,000 vehicles last year and sends its popular U.S.-built F-150 pickup to 49 countries. The all-new 2015 Mustang coupe will be shipped to more than 100 countries.
"The growing number of exports has everything to do with plant retooling and this new product onslaught, with an eye toward meeting global demand," Mike Jackson of HSI Automotive told the News in an interview.