The economy appears to be swooning, and before we land softly (or crash hard), company's have begun to circle their wagons and reduce unnecessary spending. This often translates directly into reducing advertising budgets. It's tough for an automaker to skimp on engineering and we've all seen what happens when beancounters design an interior. Advertising, however, is low-hanging budgetary fruit. Hyundai's concern over the U.S. economy is a motivating factor in the automaker's move to reconsider its pricey Super Bowl advertising.

Hyundai announced in October that it would be burning $5.4 million dollars for a mere minute of TV air time, committing to two spots during the February 3rd broadcast. Now, Hyundai's Chris Hosford tells Automotive News that they're looking at the strategy and asking themselves if that's the best use of their ad budget for the first quarter. Superbowl spots are usually expensive to produce, too, as the commercials stand a chance of garnering more banter on February 4th than the actual game does if they're interesting. Hugely expensive airtime and humongous charges from their agency all for just a minute of TV? Yeah, we'd be taking a second look, too.

That brings the total number of automakers advertising during the Super Bowl down to three: Chevy, Audi and Toyota. Oh yeah, we'll be watching.

[Source: AutoNews - sub req]