Brand-New Kia Spectra: Apparently it takes car salesmen to sell the importance of car salesmen to Congress.

The National Automobile Dealers Association is crediting Bob and Mary Cockerham, owners of Santa Fe's Car World Kia, with persuading the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship to support legislation to guarantee loans for car dealerships. The Cockerhams claim that after last year's economic crash, their lender cut their credit despite a perfect rating, forcing them to close one of their two dealerships.

"Mary and I feel like we're in the fight of our lives," Bob Cockerham told the committee back in mid-March as he shook a stack of emails from dealers sharing similar stories. "We don't have months for this. We've got days."

Well, Congress didn't fix it in days but, in another month, relief will finally come: Starting July 1, the US Small Business Administration will begin a 13-month pilot program that will offer a 75 percent government-backed guarantee on inventory loans from $500,000 to $2 million.

"This is a lifeline thrown out for thousands of dealers throughout the country," Bob Cockerham told Automotive News after the SBA announced the program.

Broken Down GMC Denali: That loan guarantee lifeline may not reel in all New Mexico's sinking dealerships. In mid-May, General Motors informed Quality Motors GMC—one of the few dealers and service companies in northern New Mexico—that the Las Vegas dealership was slated for closure.

A group of Democratic state legislators wrote on May 28 to General Motors explaining the dealership's importance to the community.

It will be a miracle if the letter doesn't get lost in the paperwork chaos: On June 1, GM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Souped-Up Ford Mustang Cobra: NY Times has bestowed "bragging rights" upon Ford Motor Co., the only manufacturer of the Detroit Big 3 to escape a government bailout.

So, maybe it's time for a legislative delegation to write Ford and ask for a few grand to help out Santa Fe's local rally-driving dynamos, Team New Mex Express.

Remember Gumball 3000, the parade of celebrities and over-the-top hot rods that rolled through Santa Fe last month? Team New Mex has been accepted to the 2010 Gumball, which will start in London and roll through Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm before jumping the pond to Montreal and Toronto and eventually skidding to a stop in New York.

Driver Matt Ruybal tells SFR the team needs to raise $45,000 in sponsorship money to make it to the starting line.