Magna International is a global auto parts supplier and independent vehicle manufacturer and now the company is considering launching its own branded car. Magna is planning to develop and launch its own plug-in hybrid vehicle and is predicting a prototype will be on the roads and testing as early as next year or in 2010.

Executives are expecting a boom in alternative drive vehicles over the coming years as fuel prices are forecasted to continue rising. Speaking with the Globe and Mail, Magna founder Frank Stronach explained that there will be a huge market for new technologies such as hybrids. Stronach also pointed out that Magna has already developed hybrid powertrains for a number of European carmakers.

The hybrid project is headed by Magna chief operating officer of vehicles and powertrain technologies Herbert Demel at the company’s Magna Steyr R&D center in Austria. Other fuel-saving technologies being investigated by Magna include lightweight metals development, new uses for plastics, and more efficient internal combustion engine designs.

Magna gave us a preview of what it has in store with the reveal at last month’s Geneva Motor Show of the new MILA Alpin hybrid concept (pictured). The vehicle featured a hybrid drivetrain with a compressed natural gas (CNG) internal combustion engine and also showcased a unique modular construction.