With the 2012 Ford C-Max, the automaker wants minivans to get small and get friendlier--and now they're getting your feet involved.

Following up on the first use of the technology in the European version of the 2011 BMW 5-Series, the U.S.-bound 2012 C-Max gets foot-gesture capability--meaning, with the minivan's key in your pocket and standing behind the rear bumper, a simple side-to-side wave of your foot under the bumper will trigger the tailgate to open.

The hands-free liftgate also requires push-button start to be specified.

Ford says the tailgate can also be programmed to open to specific heights, or adjusted by hand as the cargo situation calls for different positions.

Ford also adds the technology will make its way across its global lineup.

The C-Max is part of Ford's C-family of vehicles, which also includes the 2012 Focus. The minivan goes on sale in the U.S. late in 2011.