Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday launched a remodeled version of the Crown Majesta luxury sedan, hoping to make it one of the firm’s top cars.

Powered by a 4.3-liter engine, the 4.95-meter-long car features the world’s first radar-cruise-control system designed for low speeds. The system keeps track of vehicles running up ahead and maintains a proper distance to prevent collisions in situations such as traffic jams.

With prices starting at 5.67 million yen, Toyota aims to sell 1,000 a month. Consumers in their 50s and 60s have been identified as principal targets.

The new Crown Majesta was developed “to become one of the highest-grade models in the world,” Toyota President Fujio Cho told a news conference at a Tokyo hotel.

The nation’s largest automaker also plans to import back the Lexus brand and set up exclusive Lexus sales channels in August 2005.

Lexus models have been successful abroad, especially in North America, attaining parity with Mercedes Benz and BMW products. Identical models have been sold in Japan under different names, such as the Celsior luxury sedan and the Harrier luxury sport utility vehicle.

The Celsior and other luxury models will be consolidated into the Lexus brand.

Toyota launched new Crown luxury models in late December — the Crown Royal and the Crown Athlete — and has enjoyed brisk sales.

Meanwhile, Toyota Senior Managing Director Kyoji Sasazu said the firm’s domestic sales during the first half of the year have been hovering in part due to a series of recall scandals involving Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

“I have an impression that (the scandals) may have been affecting the purchasing will of customers,” Sasazu told the same news conference.

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