DETROIT – General Motors Corp. is targeting more than 3 million domestic retail vehicle sales this year, CEO Rick Wagoner says.

“We’d like to grow in retail, and we’ve been pretty steady on retail, averaging about 250,000 (units) a month,” he says.

Wagoner says the housing market is showing signs of improvement and gas prices have leveled off, obstacles GM and other domestic auto makers faced in 2006.

The U.S. auto market ended 2006 with 16.5 million light-vehicle sales, down from 2005’s 17.0 million units.

GM, which closed out 2006 by selling 8.7% fewer vehicles than the previous year, will not stray from its plan of offering fewer money-losing sales incentives, Wagoner says, noting the auto maker will continue to slash rental and fleet sales.

“In 2006, we took about 75,000 (units) out of daily rent. We’ll take another big bite there in 2007,” Wagoner says.

“Having the discipline has been tough sometimes, but it’s been the right thing, and it’s beginning to pay results,” he says.

GM sold 4,067,599 light vehicles in the U.S. during 2006, Ward’s data shows.

Wagoner anticipates second half-2007 will surpass the first half, as the auto maker launches the Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Malibu and its complete lineup of new cross/utility vehicles hit dealerships.

scanderson@wardsauto.com