The slowing economy has affected manufacturers in different ways, with most looking to cut costs. The latest such measures were undertaken by Chrysler and Ford, both of which cut U.S. advertising budgets by more than 30 percent in the first quarter of the year. GM and Toyota, meantime, took the opposite approach, boosting their advertising spending in an attempt to sell more products during the tough times.

Chrysler cut its spending by 42 percent while Ford decreased it by 31 percent, according to TNS Media Intelligence data revealed in a Detroit News report. GM increased ad spending by 13 percent and Toyota's grew by 8.4, mostly on television advertising to build brand awareness. New models, such as the Malibu for GM and Corolla and Matrix for Toyota, had a key in spurring the increases, industry analysts believe.

The new spending figures for each company include $535 million for GM, which remains the second biggest advertiser in the U.S., $291M for Toyota, $292M for Ford and $186M for Chrysler.

Auto sales for the first quarter of 2008 fell at all four automakers, to the tune of 16 percent for Chrysler, 11 percent for GM, 9 percent for Ford and 5.6 percent for Toyota, with an overall industry decrease of 8 percent for the same time period.