Here's what we have our eye on today:
- On the heels of a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea, Ford plans to expand its sales in the country by 50% to about 6,000 vehicles in 2012, the Detroit News reports. Sales will include the 2013 Fusion and Escape, as well as the Explorer, Taurus and diesel Focus.
- Toyota estimates it will sell 9.58 million vehicles globally in 2012, up 21% over 2011’s 7.95 million, Bloomberg News reports. The automaker is betting big on a sales lift from its redesigned Camry, whose U.S. sales improved 55.9% in January, as well as more versions of its Prius hybrid.
- Chrysler will trade Eminem for Clint Eastwood in its Super Bowl commercial this Sunday, The Wall Street Journal says. Last year's two-minute spot won an Emmy; its follow-up will be the same length, sources told the publication, with the venerable Eastwood "giving the country a pep talk."
- At the White House's behest, import automakers transported executives and fuel-efficient cars, including fuel-cell vehicles from Honda and Mercedes-Benz, to the nation's capital for President Barack Obama's tour of the Washington Auto Show. But Bloomberg reports Obama paid little notice, spending most of his half-hour tour alongside a Dodge Dart, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford C-Max and Chevrolet Malibu, among other cars from Detroit automakers. Michael Stanton, head of the Association of Global Automakers, told Bloomberg his member automakers "were just terribly disappointed" at the apparent snub.
- Automakers and car dealers added 15,000 of January's 243,000 jobs, the Labor Department reports. Today's better-than-expected report dropped unemployment to 8.3%, the lowest since February 2009, notes Bloomberg.