Flesby concept by Toyoda Gosei on sow at the Tokyo Motor Show. Picture: Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

Tokyo, Japan - A concept car equipped with external airbags to protect against fender benders is raising eyebrows at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The body panels of the Flesby II ultra-compact vehicle are covered with a soft, next-generation rubber that can absorb the impact of a collision.

Toyoda Gosei, a manufacturer of rubber and plastic automotive parts and LEDs, came up with the idea for the concept car in 2013.

Managing officer Takashi Ishikawa said on Wednesday: "We put airbags, which are mainly employed inside the car, on its exterior, such as its bonnet or fender, to protect the entire body.

The company said on its website the rubber is able to move with electric power and change the shape of the car body. LED lights projected onto the rubber also allow the driver to communicate with pedestrians and other vehicles.

"In the event of contact with a pedestrian," it said, "the soft body serves a safety function in absorbing the impact."

Reuters Televison