Mazda Motor Corp. on Monday launched the Verisa compact, looking to create a new high-grade category in this growing sector.

The Hiroshima Prefecture-based automaker said the Verisa primarily targets couples in their 30s who have no children and couples in their 50s and 60s who are seeking a stylish vehicle.

“There is no other compact car developed under the same concept,” Mazda Executive Director Masao Furuta told a news conference in Tokyo.

The Verisa represents an upgraded version of Mazda’s already popular Demio.

Powered by a 1.5-liter engine, the Verisa features an advanced keyless system that allows the driver to unlock the vehicle by touching a door while in possession of a card key.

Prices start at 1.491 million yen. The firm is targeting monthly sales of 2,500 units.

“We are focusing on growing segments in every country . . . (the compact segment) is the largest and yet growing in the domestic market,” said Mazda President Hisakazu Imaki.

While no official data are available, the compact car market is said to account for a quarter of domestic car sales.

Mazda says the name of the car was coined by combining “verita,” which means truth in Italian, and “satisfaction.”

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