Wagoner said that GM's global industry sales were likely to reach 70 million this year, a record. Growth is expected to be buoyed by sales in emerging markets - particularly China and Russia - where costs for new cars are typically lower than in the U.S.
“We’ve got a great global footprint,” Wagoner told CNBC. “If you look at China alone, last year we sold 875,000 units in our joint ventures. (That's) really remarkable when you consider ten years ago I suspect we weren’t even selling 10,000 units.”
Demand in Russia is also growing, Wagoner said. But he also added that GM is doing all it can to build on its established positions in Europe and the U.S., saying the Detroit-based automaker will "fight for every sale."
Wagoner said that GM is still in talks with Malaysia's Proton Holdings about a possible partnership, but said "there's a lot of work to be done." Last year, GM backed off on talks with Nissan Motor and Renault about an alliance.
Meanwhile, GM set a target for production of an all-electric car in 2010.
Bob Lutz, GM's product chief and vice chairman, said that the major uncertainty facing the Chevrolet Volt, a concept vehicle GM unveiled in January, was whether lithium-ion batteries can be developed to power it economically and safely. A running prototype is expected by the end of this year, he said.