Ford has debuted a new technology that could help prevent scratches and dents caused by opening vehicle doors.
The Door Edge Protector, set to debut on the 2012 Ford Focus, is a mechanically-extended flap that provides a buffer on the edge of the door to stop damaging contact with other objects or vehicles.
The flap, which automatically activates when the door is opened, is made out of hard-wearing rubber and appears and retracts within a fraction of a second, Ford says.
This allows it to absorb the shock should the edge of the vehicle's door hit another object, defending against over 90 percent of obstructions to the front doors and 85 percent at the rear doors.
Although Ford says that the device can withstand thousands of usage cycles, it is easily replaced if necessary and retracts fast enough to ensure that users can still slam the door.
"The Door Edge Protector will be one of those features that we think will make customers say ‘Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?" said Ford's Matthias Tensing.
"It will be relief to parents with children in the backseat or anyone who needs to park in a tight spot."
It's a high-tech solution to an age old problem, but consumers will be keeping a close eye on the cost of such a product if it doesn't come as standard - protector strips that offer a similar solution are cheap and plentiful on sites such as eBay.