MOBILE, Ala. — Alabama had one of the largest auto exports in last year’s record-setting $20 billion.
The Alabama Department of Commerce officials say exports of automobiles rose 13 percent in 2016 to $7.9 billion, Al.com reported . State-built models were shipped to 86 countries last year.
Germany was the top export market for Alabama-made vehicles last year, with more than $2.4 billion in shipments. Next to follow were China, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and India.
“Around the world, demand is climbing for vehicles produced by the skilled hands of Alabama’s auto workers,” Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said.
Honda accounted for exports to 45 countries, with more than $1 billion in export sales.
Top markets for Honda’s Alabama-made vehicles are Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, South Korea and the Middle East.
The company’s jump in exports can be traced to “the very positive response from both the domestic and international markets” involving luxury sport utility vehicle and the introduction of the all-new, 2016 Pilot SUV, which debuted in the spring of 2015, according to Mike Oatridge, vice president of Honda Manufacturing Alabama.
When the first Acura dealership opened in Dubai, Oatridge said, the Alabama-built Acura MDX was the only Acura product sold there for several months.
Vietnam’s exports are up nearly 70 percent to cater to a younger population with income to spare. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has seen a 65 percent jump and Kuwait is up 125 percent.