Toyota said on Friday it is considering launching its redesigned Prius hybrid in China, Dow Jones reported.

The news agency noted that, as demand for new cars grows rapidly in China along with economic expansion, the rising rate of car ownership has also raised energy and environmental concerns.

A company spokeswoman said Toyota would give the move full consideration once the Chinese government establishes a certification system for hybrid cars, Dow Jones said, adding that the spokeswoman would not disclose sales targets or launch timing.

According to Dow Jones, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper reported on Friday that Toyota will likely begin marketing the new Prius in China as early as mid-2004, with sales targets set at several hundred vehicles a year.