By Matthew Stengel

If you didn't know, car marketing is big business. Never mind the fact that the car industry itself has seen better days; companies are still shelling out millions to get their newest rides in front of our eyes. In 2010, the American automotive industry spent around $19 billion on advertisements. Out of that sum comes all the newspaper and online ads, the magazine pull-outs, and, more importantly, the TV spots that attempt to show cars in an idealized situation.

Though most car commercials simply show a well-lit car driving while a voiceover explains why it's a compelling purchase, there have been a couple throughout history that raised the medium to an art. Whether it's Mercedes-Benz touting its strong history, Volkswagen making people laugh and gasp, truck builders pulling ridiculous stunts, or Audi taking shots at any company in its way, there have fortunately been no shortage of memorable car commercials. With the 2011 CLIO Awards taking place this week, we thought it fitting to tip our fitted to the commercials that made us actually want to buy a car. So ride along with us as we countdown the 50 Best Car Commercials of All Time.