Honda Motor Co will start to sell hybrid cars in big volumes beyond 2010, a top executive said on Wednesday, while repeating the automaker's target for sales of 4.5 million cars in 2009/10.

Sales of the planned new hybrid-only model will start towards the end of 2009, so any big volume contributions will be from our next medium-term business plan, Honda Senior Managing Director Takanobu Ito told Reuters in an interview.

Ito also serves as chief operating officer of Honda's automobile division.

He confirmed Honda's official mid-term global sales target, disputing a report in the Nikkei business daily on Wednesday that Honda was now targeting sales of 5 million vehicles in 2009/10.

Honda, Japan's second-biggest automaker, has promised a lower-cost hybrid-only family car in two years' time, with an annual production target of 200,000 vehicles.

Honda has said it would generally mount the hybrid powertrain on its smaller cars, since its system works less efficiently in larger models. For those, Honda has said it would offer an alternative to gasoline engines with diesel.

But Ito, who has headed Honda's research and development company, said the automaker would likely use both powertrains across its entire line-up as technologies improve.