Each and every year, in late January or early February, the major players of the auto industry release a slew of new car commercials. They save what they hope will be their best ads to debut during the Super Bowl, America’s most-watched television event of the year.

And this time around, carmakers will be paying Fox Sports around four million dollars per thirty second time slot during Super Bowl XLVIII, so you can bet they hope the commercials drive some sales!

IS IT WORTH IT?

We have found ourselves wondering recently whether or not the airtime is really so precious for companies that have already achieved strong brand recognition. Are there really that many potential customers out there whose ultimate vehicle buying decision is influenced by a commercial they see during a championship football game?

To be honest, sometimes we’ll see an ad for a soft drink or a snack and suddenly be filled with a craving that pretty much guarantees a purchase. But do that many people watch the big game and then think to themselves “Hell, why not – I’m going to buy a Kia tomorrow!”

Or rather is Super Bowl airtime more of a badge of honor to these carmakers? Either way, a whole lot of car commercials are going to be rolled out during Super Bowl XLVIII. Let’s cruise through them together.

KIA

Kia hits the half-decade mark, with advertising appearing in the fifth consecutive Super Bowl. As we noted before, this year they are touting their powerful new rear-wheel luxury sedan, the K900. Perhaps it’s not exactly an inspired name for a car (though it would be an awesome name for a movie about a cyborg police dog!), but we can still hope the ad(s) will be enjoyable. Just about anything will top Kia’s offerings during Super Bowl XLVII. “Space Babies” and “Hot Bots” just didn’t do it for us.

HYUNDAI

Last year Hyundai came out swinging with multiple commercials. They released no fewer than five ads, with the fan favorite being “Team” in which a band of scrappy neighborhood kids takes on a group of bullies in a game of pickup football. This time around Hyundai is only running two ads. We’ll get you the story on those ads as soon as we can. Side note: they will mark the seventh year in a row in which Hyundai has aired a Super Bowl ad (or five).

GM (CHEVROLET)

General Motors is making headlines all over the place! First they select Mary Barra as their CEO, making her the first female head of a major auto company. Then they plan to roll out no fewer than 12 new cars and trucks during 2013 and 2014. And the icing on the cake? Super Bowl commercials, baby! The rumors say that GM’s commercials will be focused primarily on its Chevy brand.

JAGUAR

That’s to be pronounced Jag-Yoo-Are, of course, and said in your best British accent, no less. And perhaps you should be stroking an angry looking cat while you’re at it: apparently the underlying theme behind Jaguar’s first ever Super Bowl commercial will be the archetypal British villain from cinema. Will their attempt to shake things up in this new advertising arena translate to better sales for their new F-Type coupe? We’ll see.

WHAT YOU WON’T BE SEEING DURING SUPER BOWL XLVIII

Super Bowl XLVIII will not only have significantly fewer ads from automakers in general, but it will be absent of a few perennial favorites. During the 2013 championship, no fewer than eight auto companies ran ads. This time around it looks like we’re getting spots from four.

And you won’t be seeing an ad from Volkswagen, always a comedic favorite, or from Audi, whose ad titled “Prom” was considered by many to be the best car commercial of Super Bowl XLVIII. Also bowing out after an appearance during last year’s game are Mercedes, Lincoln, Ram, Toyota, and Jeep.