COLUMBIA — South Carolina exported more automobiles to overseas markets than Michigan in 2011, and exported more tires than any other state, the S.C. Department of Commerce, State Ports Authority and the governor's office said this morning.

South Carolina exported more than $24.6 billion to 198 countries last year, a more than 21 percent increase over 2010, according to the state.

"This is great news for South Carolina. We will continue to work on improving and modernizing our ports system, which plays a key role in bringing companies from around the globe to our great state," said Gov. Nikki Haley.

Upstate manufacturers including BMW, Michelin North America, and General Electric accounted for a substantial amount of the state high-dollar-value exports. The vehicle sector accounted for the largest export gain last year.

South Carolina also ranked first among U.S. states in tire exports, holding nearly 30 percent of the U.S. share of exported tires.

"South Carolina is poised to become the number one tire producing state in the U.S. and the tires that we make here are exported all over the world," said Pete Selleck, chairman and president, Michelin North America.