TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled Monday the first model in a new generation of Toyota cars designed to meet higher standards of ergonomic and situational needs.
The new Raum, a five-seat family car, was built under a new-product development method that relies on incorporating driver feedback at the design stage. Feedback is repeatedly sought after each adjustment until ease of use reaches an appropriate level, as measured by two main in-house indices, Toyota said.
Toyota said it would use the method for all future models, beginning with vehicles sold in Japan.
"This goes one step beyond our previous development strategy by quantifying user-friendliness," Executive Vice President Akihiko Saito told reporters.
The Raum features, among other things, a "panorama" door consisting of a conventional front door and an automatic rear sliding door with no central pillar, which makes getting in and out easier for bigger people or when loading large items.
The car also comes equipped with windows that block harmful ultraviolet rays and infrared sensors that can detect the driver's body temperature to automatically control air conditioning.
Toyota, which already dominates the Japanese market with a share of more than 40 percent, said these and other improvements should help sharpen its competitive edge by giving its cars added value.
A leader in next-generation auto technology including in the field of hybrid and fuel cell cars, Toyota said it hopes the concept of rating a car's ease of use will become a global standard.
Toyota said it aims to sell 4,000 units per month of the Raum, which starts at $11,940.