Carmakers may be finding it tough importing cars into the U.S. because of the weak dollar but on the flipside exporting cars outside of the States is proving to be very lucrative. Combine this with last year’s revised labor contracts and U.S. carmakers are now faced with a tremendous opportunity to boost exports and inject some lifeblood into the ailing domestic auto industry.

This is a chance for American carmakers to turn around unprofitable local operations and gain a foothold in emerging markets. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. exported $50.66 billion worth of cars and light trucks last year, which is about a third of what it imported. Close to half of these exports went to just two countries, neighboring Mexico and Canada, which means there remains a huge opportunity for the Detroit 3 in global markets.

We’ve already seen the first signs of the Detroit 3 taking action. Leading the charge is GM, which plans to export American made vehicles to Europe, China and Latin American markets such as Brazil. Some of GM’s first U.S. exports will be the Michigan-built Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Malibu, and a new yet-to-be revealed small car is also a possibility.

Chrysler, meanwhile, is planning to move production of some of its global models from Europe to the U.S. to take advantage of the weak dollar and is already exporting its Dodge Caliber and Jeep TK to markets outside North America.

Ford probably has the weakest export plans at the moment, with only the Ranger pickup and Focus under consideration for export to Brazil and Mexico.