Fuji Heavy Industries has launched a redesigned, bigger and more powerful Subaru Legacy car line as company president Ikuo Mori said the automaker was planning to launch a hybrid as early as 2011 to meet stricter environmental regulations.

The automaker will start selling the fifth-generation Legacy in the United States in the summer and other parts of the world later in the year. It aims for monthly sales of 3,000 units in Japan and 15,000 units globally, half from the US market, Kyodo News reported.

The full redesign for the Legacy is the first in six years.

''We will of course develop cars such as hybrids and electric vehicles, but for this Legacy, our aim was to improve fuel efficiency while creating a car that can satisfy customers with a better driving experience,'' Mori said at a press conference in Tokyo.

He separately told reporters that the company hoped to launch a petrol-electric hybrid, around the same time as a 'clean diesel' car around 2011-2012, with the help of top shareholder Toyota's technology. Subaru launched a diesel Legacy line in Europe, recently.

The new Legacy Touring Wagon series, slightly bigger than previous models for interior comfort, now has a 500cc larger 2.5 litre engine and is priced between JPY2.36m and JPY3.44m in Japan. The B4 sport sedan series costs between JPY2.21m and JPY3.29m while the new Outback sports utility vehicle line is priced between JPY2.68m and JPY3.70m.

Mori told Kyodo News he hoped to expand sales of the Legacy in emerging markets such as China and Russia.