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Toyota Unveils Car That Parks Itself

September 02, 2003|From Reuters

A car that can park itself without the driver having to touch the steering wheel, which Toyota Motor Corp. said is a world first, went on sale in Japan.

Toyota's new hybrid gasoline-electric Prius sedan uses electrically operated power steering and sensors that help guide the car when reversing into parking spaces. Toyota President Fujio Cho sat in the driver's seat at a demonstration for the media, surprising reporters by holding his hands up as the car quickly parked itself.

The new Prius five-seat passenger model is said by Toyota to be more fuel-efficient and cheaper than its predecessors. Rivals General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. will launch their first hybrids this year.

Toyota said it expects to sell 76,000 new Priuses worldwide in 2004, counting on growing demand for environment-friendly cars. The sales target is more than double the annual figure for the Prius for the last two years of around 28,000 units. Toyota, the world's third-largest automaker, has sold about 120,000 of the cars since its launch in December 1997. Toyota aims to sell 36,000 units in Japan, 35,000 to 36,000 in the United States and 4,000 to 5,000 in the rest of the world next year.

The new model sells for $18,445 in Japan. The intelligent park assist system is offered as an option at an additional cost of $1,973.23. Toyota has set itself a goal of producing 300,000 of the eco-friendly hybrid vehicles a year by 2005 or 2006.

From Reuters

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