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1st Gear: If this weekend's Super Bowl audience hits record levels, then the $3 million-plus price of a Super Bowl ad spot will be "a bargain." So far, our worth-the-money winners are the adorable Star Wars Volkswagen ad and the Bumblebee spot. Check them all out at our Super Bowl Ad Watch page.

2nd Gear: Speaking of the Super Bowl, General Motors plans to scare small children with the Robonaut 2 when it appears with Howie Long in the big game's preview show. We're sorry, but "R2" looks like a creepy spaceman with a severed lower torso. In other news, Honda's less-useful Asimo is still cute and adorable.

3rd Gear: NHTSA ordered Ford to recall over 280,000 F-150 pickup trucks from model year 2009 and 2010 because "the interior door handle housing embossment retaining the interior door handle spring may fracture." What this means is that in a side impact crash, "the door handle spring can fail causing the door latch to open." Which then, likely, will lead to fiery death!

4th Gear: Toyota's Prius hybrid has lost its title as Japan's best-selling vehicle for the first time in 20 months to the Honda Fit in January. Oh no, however will the environment be saved now?!

5th Gear: Car and Driver says we'll be seeing a Tesla "Model X" crossover styling buck at Frankfurt. Autoblog says no, but expect it to be unveiled sometime this year. This seems to us like much ado over vaporware.

6th Gear: U.S. auto industry added 20,400 jobs in January, more than any other industry. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! Unfortunately, they're all contract jobs. Over-seas! Over-seas! Over-seas!


⏎ Looks like everyone is jumping on the "next Ford GT will be a hybrid" bandwagon. Just remember who broke that story, k? Well, the hybrid part anyway.

⏎ There's apparently something akin to range anxiety for parking spaces at the Super Bowl. Who knew? [NYT]


⏎ Bad Mazda news: Mazda posted a $33 million (2.7 billion yen) loss for the last quarter of 2010. Damn the yen. [Automotive News]

⏎ Good Mazda news: Over the past 21 years and 10 months, Mazda sold 900,000 Miata/MX-5s. [AutoExpress]

⏎ GM's future strategy will continue to be "don't sell cars here in the United States." [Detroit News]


⏎ Rolls-Royce has appointed a new head of exterior design: Giles Taylor. He's 43 years old, British, and he comes from Jaguar. Maybe he just didn't like curry very much. [NYT]

⏎ That X-Bow-based Alfa Romeo 4C GTA we mentioned? It'll be built by Dallara. [Automotive News]