Spitzer, 63, is faced with losing three of his seven GM franchises and already has lost seven of his eight Chrysler Group franchises. Because he has several import stores, his 105-year-old family business will survive.
Spitzer and other rejected dealers are in settlement talks with GM and Chrysler. Senior lawmakers in Washington requested the talks as an alternative to a law passed in the House -- but stalled in the Senate -- that would restore franchises to the rejected dealers.
The Committee to Restore Dealer Rights, which Spitzer co-founded, is asking dealers to lobby members of Congress to support the legislation or a fair settlement by pointing to what they say are GM's false claims.
In the congressional testimony, GM said it would save about $928,000 per closed dealership by not paying incentives, factory wholesale floorplan support, fuel tank fill-ups, Standards for Excellence rewards and a 1 percent marketing fee.
All the costs are tied to the sale of vehicles. It's unclear whether the figure is an average per dealership.
In addition, GM said it would save about $180,000 per closed dealership in structural costs such as service and training, local advertising assistance and information technology.
In its recent third-quarter financial statement, GM took a $505 million charge against earnings primarily for dealership restructuring.
More charges are likely to follow. Henderson declined to list GM's expected savings once the restructuring is complete. "It'd be much more important to get into that when it's all complete rather than trying to speculate about it today," he said.
Spitzer argues that all the costs that GM listed to Congress are related to the number of vehicles sold, not the number of dealers selling them.
"If one dealer sells 1 million cars for GM, the cost to fill the fuel tank on those million cars is the same as if 1 million dealers sold one car each," Spitzer says.
He says his group contends that even most of the structural costs are subsidized by dealers. For example, the dealer pays to participate in the Standards for Excellence program, which rewards them if they meet sales quotas. Spitzer says most dealers also pay $4,000 to $7,000 a month for their staff training, special tools and sign rentals.
The only real cost to GM that Spitzer can see is the cost of additional field staff to work with more dealers. But he says most correspondence now with GM is done electronically, not with field representatives. And dealers pay about $100 a month for electronic access.
In Washington, the bill to restore the GM and Chrysler dealerships rejected in U.S. Bankruptcy Court faces difficult prospects. But settlement talks between the automakers and Spitzer's committee and three other dealership groups including the National Automobile Dealers Association were continuing last week.
Said Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich.: "I've heard from the dealer community about their contention [regarding the $2.5 billion savings]. I'd like to see full transparency in the process to make sure the process is fair for dealers."
Jason Stein and Neil Roland contributed to this report