Mercedes-Benz Japan Co., a fully owned subsidiary of German automaker Daimler-Benz AG, announced Thursday the arrival of its first A-class subcompact car to hit the Japanese market, the A160.

The car captured widespread attention immediately after its debut in Europe in October because it is the first small car developed by the luxury automaker and because of questions over the vehicle’s safety.

In November, an A160 overturned during a test drive conducted by personnel from a Swedish magazine, and Daimler-Benz temporarily halted production of the vehicle to make technical changes to ensure passengers’ safety.

The right-hand drive model, equipped with a 1.6-liter engine, reappeared on the European market in February. The company said that the new A160 has bigger tires, a more sophisticated suspension system and an electric stabilizer.

According to the company, its price of 2.65 million yen is lower than that of the model sold in Europe under current exchange rates. The firm hopes to sell 1,200 units of the model by the end of December and more than 10,000 units next year. “Since the vehicle presents completely new features, we expect to capture new customers in Japan,” said Takehisa Takano, vice president of Mercedes-Benz Japan.

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