Honda Motor on Monday said it was bringing forward plans for additional hybrid models and would begin sales in Japan of the CR-Z sports hybrid model in February 2010 and the Fit (Jazz) hybrid before the end of next year.

”We decided to expand the use of the hybrid technology used in the Insight to other cars ahead of schedule,” Honda president Takanobu Ito said at a joint interview with media in Tokyo.

“I think everyone is going to go the way of hybrids,” the 55-year-old former engineer said in his first public appearance since taking the reins at Honda last month.

“Bringing hybrids quickly to customers will be a major focus of our activities,” he said. “I want Honda to be a speedy company.”

A CR-Z ‘concept’ made its world debut at the Tokyo motor show in 2007. Honda said it would have “advanced technologies that deliver enjoyable driving for all while reducing the vehicle’s environmental footprint”.

The automaker said the two new models would use its current IMA (integrated motor assist) hybrid system but added it is developing a new type of hybrid system with two electric motors to be mounted on medium- to large-sized vehicles after shelving plans to use clean diesel engines in Japan and the US to improve fuel economy on bigger models.

Ito declined to say when the new hybrid system would be ready.

Virtually all engineers that had been part of Honda’s Formula One team are now working on hybrid development, he said. Honda pulled out of the race in December to avoid falling into the red.

Honda noted it had expanded Insight production, adding that, in addition to original output on the No. 1 line at its Suzuka factory, it had started assembly on Suzuka’s No. 3 line in mid-June 2009.

“In order to continue contributing to the global effort to reduce CO2 emissions, Honda will continue to focus on research and development of technologies which improve fuel-efficiency and strive to deliver products with improved environmental performance to as many customers as possible by making such products more accessible to all people,” the automaker said.