LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Kyodo) Toyota Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. have announced the start of Toyota Camry production at a Fuji Heavy factory in the United States.

The Indiana factory will produce 100,000 sedans annually so Toyota can better respond to growing sales of its vehicles in North America.

Japan’s largest automaker has had difficulty producing enough vehicles in the United States to meet the strong demand there.

As a result, Toyota shipped a record 1.27 million vehicles from Japan to the United States in 2006.

Fearing that its soaring exports to the U.S. could herald a return to bilateral trade friction, Toyota has been willing to boost local production by utilizing Fuji Heavy’s factory, which has spare production capacity, analysts said.

Toyota acquired some shareholdings held by General Motors Corp. in Fuji Heavy, known for the Subaru brand, in October 2005 when the U.S. auto giant terminated its capital ties with Fuji Heavy.

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