Nearly 40% of dealers responding to a ProSales survey in November said sales at their facilities were down by at least one-fifth for 2008, and only 55% think their locations will turn an operating profit.

The online poll's results also revealed big regional differences. Only 16.6% of dealers in the Northeast expected sales would be down at least 20% vs. 50.6% of dealers in Southern states, 30.6% of dealers in North Central states, and 39.5% of dealers in Rocky Mountain and Pacific states.

Close to one-third of all dealers expect sales to decline 10% to 19%, and another 10.8% forecast a 1% to 9% drop. About 8.1% said sales should be roughly equal. Only 11.3% of dealers believe sales would increase for 2008, and nobody forecast as much as 20% growth.

As with sales, profit expectations varied sharply by region: 68.4% of dealers in the West and 64.5% in the Northeast predicted they'd post an operating profit in 2008, while only 53.6% of Southern dealers and 42% of North Central dealers said the same.