Global sales of ICE-electric light vehicle hybrids are forecast to reach more than 4m units per year by 2015, according to a new report from AutomotiveWorld.com, and the numbers could be even higher if China follows through with plans to provide incentives to both manufacturers and consumers.

According to the report, 'Hybrid Light Vehicles, technologies and trends to 2015', global hybrid sales stood at around 575,000 in 2007 and average annual sales increases are expected to run at more than 29% through to 2012 when the sector could approach market saturation in developed countries.

The US still accounts for more than 60% of the global market with more than 350,000 hybrids sold in 2007, while Japan contributed more than 17% at around 100,000 units. Also, the technology appears to be catching on in Europe, with annual sales growth exceeding 100% during four of the last five years.

As well as presenting market reviews and forecasts, the report examines the factors that are driving and limiting growth in the hybrid market and presents the technology developments that enable hybrid production. It lists light vehicle hybrid models in the market since the launch of the Toyota Prius in 1999, those currently available and those scheduled for production through to 2010. It also profiles the major suppliers to the sector and several battery development consortia that are investing heavily to make hybrids more effective and affordable.