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Thirty-two years after building its first car in the United States, Honda has finally reached the point where it is a net exporter of vehicles from the U.S.

The milestone caps a surge in manufacturing in the U.S. in recent years as the Japanese automaker moved more production out of Japan to adjust costs.

Last year, Honda exported 108,705 U.S.-made Honda and Acura vehicles while, the company imported 88,537 from Japan. In total, the automaker built 1.3 million vehicles at four U.S. assembly plants.

Honda's transition to net exporter status was driven by two factors that made it more advantageous to build and ship vehicles from the United States instead of importing them from Japan.

First, the strength of the yen in recent years prompted the automaker to diversify its production around the world.

Second, as sales rebounded in the U.S. Honda was in a position to meet more of that demand by expanding production at its U.S. plants.