YOKOHAMA, Japan - Honda Motor Co said on Tuesday it had received about 8,000 orders for the CR-Z sporty hybrid car in Japan after less than three weeks on the market, or eight times the monthly sales target of 1,000 units.

The two-door compact, which went on sale in Japan on Feb. 26, is the second in a line of low-cost hybrid cars from Japan's No.2 automaker and is scheduled for launch in North America and Europe this summer.

Honda has said it expects to sell 40,000-50,000 of the CR-Z a year worldwide.

Of the orders received in Japan, 40 percent of customers chose the six-speed manual transmission version in what Honda officials said indicated a popularity among sports car enthusiasts. Nearly 100 percent of cars sold in Japan are automatic.

Honda trails Toyota Motor Corp by a wide margin in hybrid sales, with the low-cost Insight selling just 3,500 units last month, compared with 27,000 for its rival's flagship Prius.

(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Nathan Layne)