Click above for high-res gallery of the Transformers cars from GM

When you're forced into a life-and-death situation like General Motors, a lot of tough calls have to be made – yet some are more obvious than others. In this case, The General has made it clear that it plans to slash its North American marketing spending – by some $800 million dollars.

That's an extra $200M on top of the $600M that already GM vowed it would cut by 2010 in a disclosure it made back in December. And it isn't just things like SuperBowl commercials, and print ads – vehicle incentives will also be impacted, something that will doubtlessly affect the already tough sledding that dealers are experiencing.

Another example: Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. Despite early efforts to tie Chevrolet to the Shia LaBeouf/Megan Fox Paramount sequel with efforts like the Corvette Centennial Concept and "Jolt" Volt unveiling at the Chicago Auto Show, trade publication Advertising Age is reporting that GM will not spend much money to co-promote the movie.

For the initial 2007 Transformers movie, GM is said to have spent "tens of millions" of dollars in advertising-related initiatives, but not only can the financially-strapped automaker not afford to do so, it realizes it may also not be a good idea in light of the taxpayer bailout. AdAge is quoting one insider as saying:
"You're not going to see any TV media that I know of. Even though you can make a case for it from a marketing standpoint, it's the kind of thing that might get you roundly criticized in light of today's climate. It's viewed as too risky, sort of like Citibank's deal with the Mets. GM can't afford to do that.
The message is clear: Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Jolt and Mudflap... you're on your own.

Related GalleryChicago 2009: GM Transformers cars LIVE

[Sources: Automotive News; Advertising Age]