What if 12 million is optimistic?

This week, nervous investors dumped GM and Ford stock after J.D. Power lowered its 2009 industry sales prediction to 13.2 million units. Now here's the scary part: some industry insiders fear sales could be much, much worse.

One well-connected industry insider tells me that he's heard private predictions that sales could crater to 10 or 11 million units next year.

Now, I have no idea how bad things will get. One of the more dire public projections is that of Stephens Inc., which projects 2009 sales as low as 12.0 million units if the nation suffers a 1980-style recession.

But if our insider is correct, we're going to have an upheaval.

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