YOKOSUKA, Japan (Reuters) -- Nissan Motor Co. will offer automatic braking as a standard feature in all volume cars in Japan by autumn, starting with the hybrid X-Trail SUV it unveiled today.
Emergency braking and other pre-crash safety features -- once found only in high-end models -- are growing in importance for consumers in developed markets, making them a hot new battleground for automakers.
Toyota Motor Corp. last week rolled out the first car featuring its latest technology that uses radar sensors and cameras to automatically brake the car in danger of collision and keep it from drifting out of its lane. Toyota has said it would offer the safety packages either as an option or standard feature on almost all passenger cars in Japan, North America and Europe by the end of 2017.
Nissan had previously said it would provide automatic braking as an add-on in most vehicle segments in Japan. It has not disclosed plans for the rest of the world.
Such safety features are a step towards developing self-driving cars -- the first phase of which Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan and French partner Renault SA, said recently would be introduced in Japan next year.
The X-Trail Hybrid goes on sale in mid-May in Japan, starting at 2.8 million yen ($23,423). Executive Vice President Takao Katagiri said Nissan is expected to sell 3,500 a month, including the gasoline engine version that debuted in late 2013.
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