AD #1407 – Infiniti Making Daimler Engines, 2015 Sonata Sport, How Many is Too Many?

June 27th, 2014 at 11:55am

Runtime: 7:18

- Daimler Teams with Infiniti on Engines
- 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport
- Big Formula 1 Rule Change
- 2015 Ford Focus ST
- Citroen C4 Cactus
- How High Will Trans. Gears Go?

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. In today’s show we’ll look at how Hyundai will give the new Sonata more aggressive styling and a rule change coming for Formula 1. Then in the second half of show one expert predicts the maximum number of gears we’ll see stuffed into a transmission. But now lets move on to the news.

Automakers are always looking for ways to save some cash and one great way of doing that is teaming with other automakers. Daimler joined with Nissan-Renault to make engines and the first ones started rolling of the assembly line yesterday at a new Infiniti plant in Tennessee. It’s a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline unit that was developed by Daimler that will make its way into the European versions of the Infiniti Q50 and Mercedes C-Class. The 310,000 square foot facility is capable of producing 250,000 engines a year.

We just got a chance to drive the all-new Hyundai Sonata. Unfortunately we have to wait a few days to give you our driving impressions but we can talk about the rest of the car. As you know, the styling on the new model has been dialed back. But the company doesn’t want to lose the customers that liked the bold styling of the previous model. That’s why Hyundai created a new Sport model, that features a more aggressive looking front fascia and rocker panel moldings. Plus it comes with dual exhaust instead of single like the rest of the Sonata line-up. Personally I like the look of the new model better. We’ll have our driving impressions of the new Sonata on Monday, just look for it in the Seat Time section of our website.

Whoa! Not sure if you saw but there’s a big change coming in next year’s Formula 1 season. Safety car restarts will now be a standing start from the grid rather than a single file rolling start. It won’t be carried out if the safety car is used within 2 laps of the beginning of a race or the last 5 laps. Click the link in the headline of today’s transcript to check out all the details, then head back to our site because we want to know what you think of the changes.

Ford just revealed the updated Focus ST. The front and rear end have been redesigned to give it an even sportier look. Inside the car features a new flat-bottom steering wheel, a redesigned instrument panel and a new center console with more storage space. The 2015 Focus ST is still powered by a 2.0L EcoBoost and a six-speed manual but engineers did make changes to improve the ride and handling. The suspension features new front springs and sportier shock absorber tuning for both the front and rear. And the electric power-assisted steering has also been revised. No word on pricing but it will likely be similar to the outgoing model which carries a price tag of about $25,000.

Citroen started selling its new C4 Cactus model, which it calls a unique design with functional use, shared comfort and easy-to-use technologies, all in an affordable package. Production already began at PSA’s Madrid plant with total number of units per year expected to hit 80,000.

Chrysler is starting to equip some of its models with a nine-speed automatic. And we know that GM, Ford and Volkswagen are all developing 10-speeds. So how many gears can automakers cram into a transmission. That discussion is coming up next..

On Autoline This Week, the topic is all about advanced powertrains. In the following clip Chris Thomas the Chief Technology Officer at BorgWarner, predicts what the maximum number of gears a transmission can handle.

(Clip from Autoline This Week can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Also joining John for that show is Tod Hynes the Founder & President of a company called XL Hybrids and Oliver Schmidt from VW of America. As always you can watch that entire episode right now on our website,

Oh and before we go, a programming note here. There won’t be any new Autoline Daily’s next week, because we’re closing up shop for the Fourth of July. So we’ll see you right back here on Monday, July 7th. Thanks for watching and have a great week.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog

57 Comments to “AD #1407 – Infiniti Making Daimler Engines, 2015 Sonata Sport, How Many is Too Many?”

  1. Bradley Says:

    Mercedes HQ’d in Deutschland
    is contracting Nissan HQ’d in Japan
    to make an engine designed by Mercedes
    in the United States
    to sell in Europe.

    We are supposed to believe this is the most cost effective way of doing business.

    Decisions like that only make sense in the presence of politics and taxes.

  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Maybe I’m not seeing the whole picture, or what F1 is trying to do with ‘grid starts’ after Safety Car periods; why are they inserting ‘drag races’ into the race (one is quite sufficient at the beginning of the race). This new regulation might also lead to (additional) first turn incidents necessitating (another) safety car), i.e., NASCAR’s cautions causing (more) cautions. I’m not ‘married’ to my opinion but this is how I see it now.

  3. Jon M Says:

    @ 1

    The engines aren’t going from Germany to Japan to the U.S. to Europe; they’re being built in the U.S. and will make their way into specific Infinitis and Mercs. It’s not too unlike entire vehicles that are assembled in one country and shipped to another. It may not sound cost-effective, but it can be.

  4. buzzerd Says:

    I think the main reason I can’t get into F1 is I don’t have enough free time to learn the over whelming amount of rules that govern the series! Hey F1- how about this new rule- no more new rules!

  5. frank Says:

    9 speed, 10 speed, 12 speed. why not use a modern version of the old GM dynaflow as the ’62 buick used??

  6. RumNCVoke Says:

    There has got to be a point where the complexity and weight of a multi gear transmission makes no sense compared to a CVT. I thought an engineer (maybe from ZF?) was on Autoline some time ago and his opinion was that 10 gears was a realistic maximum.

  7. Bradley Says:



    The question is, is Mercedes sales going up so much that they are outsourcing to other auto companies? Or are they thinking like 1990s GM and as long as their name is on it, it will sell?

  8. David1 Says:

    Stop then Resart. Bad idea! Trying to make up for their non competitive power units?

  9. w l simpson Says:

    Re: 10 speed—does complexity improve longevity ?

  10. XA351GT Says:

    Why doesn’t F1 just adopt the double file restart like all other racing series have? It has worked for them. All I can see this doing is causing wide spread clutch failures which on F1 cars has always been their weak link. Is that 1st turn crash that important?

  11. XA351GT Says:

    So why don’t they just use a big rig 18 speed trans? LOL I’m waiting for them to use these high number gearboxes with a 2 speed diff to double their gear range. At some point there can’t be a benefit to all that complexity except to keep the repair shops in business. 40 years ago people were content with a 2 speed powerglide. Want to improve gas mileage? This is what all this is supposedly for ,right? Remove the excess weight. John and company can you find any info on what the weight increase on vehicle lines are now over say 1980? Considering that most manufacturers have at least 5 SUVs and 2 truck lines and get think that they average weight has gone down.

  12. RonE Says:

    At the initial start of an F1 race overheating is a concern while waiting for the lights to go out. A restart at the middle of a race could lead to serious overheating while waiting for all the stragglers to catch up to the leaders of the race. And the stragglers won’t be in any hurry to get to the starting grid. This could be interesting.

  13. C-Tech Says:

    I don’t understand the need for a reset grid after a caution in F1. Can someone explain the advantage?

    Because most, if not all new transmissions are electronically controlled and sync with the engine computer, it really helps the trans to last longer (less hard torque shifts, better clutch materials, better fluids). The question to me is how much better will the fuel economy be for the added weight and what will be reduced to cover the added cost?

  14. C-Tech Says:

    I have no complaints about Nissan producing engines for M-B. More U.S. workers getting jobs producing products for export, go U.S.A. Someone at GM or Chrysler may want to knock on BMW’s door. A suggestion for Mr. Marchionne, Acura could use a new TL replacement. Honda could use a replacement for the anemic Ridgeline. Chrysler could use a new full-sized sedan and a small pick-up. A joint venture for a full-sized rwd/awd sedan and a small pick-up will be interesting.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3, 7
    The engines will be used in Benzes and Infinitis, and probably eventually Renaults and Nissans. This sort of thing has been going on for a long time. The design is shared, and the production is used several places. A larger volume factory is more efficient than a small one.

    The down side is that if you pay for a Benz, you probably don’t want a Nissan engine, even if there is nothing wrong with it. Of course, many Benz drivers won’t know where the engine came from, just as many BMW drivers don’t know which end of the car gets the power.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suppose the reason for the grid restart is to bring more “excitement” to F1 by adding additional opportunities for first turn crashes.

    Actually, if they are going to do this, why even have the safety car? If an incident would bring out the safety car, just have the competitors come in and form up on the grid, and wait until things are cleaned up.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Wow how things have changed, I remember all the hoopla over Chevy engines being used in Olds and Buick cars and now Toyota engines get put into Lexus cars and Mitusbishi engines in Smart cars and so on and no one gives a crap!

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that 7 is probably about the right number of gear ratios for an automatic transmission in larger vehicles. That is the number M-B is using for their “serious” cars, like the S-Class, where the brand still is making the best cars in the world.

    CVT’s seem to be the way to go for smaller cars, with smaller engines. They accelerate well and get good mpg for the weight and power of the vehicles. Some people don’t like them, but mainly people who don’t drive them regularly. My sister just got a Subaru Forester, and likes the transmission just fine. She is still learning to set the clock, though.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17, Yeah, I was thinking about the Chevy engines in Oldses and Buicks too. Such was the power of brand marketing. People wanted an Olds or Buick engine, never mind that the Chevy engine may have actually been better.

  20. G.A.Branigan Says:

    For trucks,(even light duty),I think a 9 or 10 speed will keep the truck engine in it’s powerband making it more efficient.This is especially true in the new light duty diesels that are coming out.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    GM might have to change its name to RM (Recall Motors)

  22. cwolf Says:

    G.A., I agree with your 9-10 speed thought. I know the tranny parts we will make for them are designed to handle the higher torque of a diesel. From what I gather, 9 speed is pretty much the limit.

    I actually have no beef with who makes what parts for other brands as long as there is ample reliability history behind it. As I expressed before, the real problem with all makes of vehicles is not of the company, but with the suppliers, design criteria and the ability to to be pro-active in QC assurance.

  23. Ryan Schulz Says:

    I always was puzzled about Ford neither investing what Lincoln needs to compete nor closing it down. The mystery was resolved yesterday, when I read an article that Mulally wanted, and rightly so, to close Lincoln down, while Fields and Jim Farley the sales guy were able to convince him to let it live.

    Fields is now the CEO and he will be harshly evaluated if he continues the policy of not investing in Lincoln, so it can create the unique (no more damned Ford Clones!) vehicles it needs to compete.

    PS Why was there no ALD on 6/30?

  24. dcars Says:

    GM of the 2010′s is not interested in building it’s own vehicles. It’s a marketing company.
    F1 must be losing viewers, standing starts are the quickest way to create accidents. I guess they have to create excitement some how.

  25. Brett Says:

    GM was founded as a marketing company. Ford and Chrysler were founded by engineers.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Huh? In the past, GM has sold a lot more vehicles they “didn’t build” than now. Remember Sprint/Metro, Spectrum, Tracker, and others. The only vehicle they now market, but don’t build, is the Nissan-based van. Even the Spark and Encore are GM products, but from another continent, like a Ford Transit Connect is a Ford from another continent.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    F1 lost a lot of TV viewers, at least in the U.S., when Speed Channel was shut down. My cable company, and I think most of them had Speed as part of the standard package, but you have to pay extra for NBC Sports.

  28. C-Tech Says:

    @ #24 All of the GM individual companies (Buick, Oldsmobile, Oakland, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Vauxhall, Opel, etc.) were started by engineers and brought together as a business strategy (market integration). There is an interesting book “The History of the Automobile” which is great reading of how the large auto companies got started.

  29. C-Tech Says:

    A little known piece of auto history, Cadillac and Lincoln were started by the same person. Henty Leland. He hired Henry Ford to build the engines for the first (prototype) Cadillacs.

  30. Brett Says:


    That doesn’t alter the fundamental mindset and culture of the organizations, however.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    No new show today? Maybe there is a holiday I don’t know about, or did John and company take the day off for the soccer game?

  32. Brett Says:

    I believe that he announce at the end of this show here that they were taking the week off.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks, Brett. Yep, I wasn’t paying attention.

  34. Chuck Grenci Says:

    We’ll have to entertain ourselves this week; shouldn’t be too hard: recalls, June sales, Michael S’s medical records, etc.

    I’ve got to side with C-tech, post 27; even today, GM has great product (needs better marketing). And as far as dubiousness of GM (‘handling’s’ of late), I believe most corporations run similarly (but don’t get ‘caught’ as often; tough to be under the microscope (as GM has been since bankruptcy IMO).

  35. cwolf Says:

    I have been wondering if T. Bejma has been exerting extra time and energy to make sure his truck hits the pavement without a recall. I liked that guy and hope he excelles in the company. I might dig up his address and see what he’s been up to.

    June sales for GM haven’t been stellar, yet this recall target they have pasted on them hasn’t effected sales as much as many would have guessed. Is anyone surprised by the increased sales of large SUVs and other expensive Suburban type vehicles? Buick displayed a new mid-sized SUV in China which may come to the US. It would certainly fill the gap in the Buick lineup, but it better fair better than the last one. And if this is over priced like the small Encore with packages, I bet this thing may as well stay in China.

  36. cwolf Says:

    Does anyone have a clue as why some of our names are shown in blue while other black?

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think you blueies put something in the “website” box, while we “blackies” did not.

  38. Brett Says:

    Yes. I put my website address in so, if anybody happens to come through Daytona and wants to hook up for some folk music or similar entertainment opportunities in the area can contact me through my music website.

  39. C-Tech Says:

    I get it now. When I click on Brett’s name in blue, it takes me to his website.

  40. T. Bejma Says:


    Still lurking…

    Thanks cwolf – I like you too ;-)

    As could be expected, all of GM has extra focus on making sure that our customers are going to be excited about our vehicles. Right now the pendulum has swung all the way to one side so even the tiniest detail is being scrutinized. Our customers will be the biggest benefactors and we are spending a lot of hours making sure of that. There may even be more recalls as we uncover some of the sins of the past, but you can definitely see a difference in the way that problems are identified and resolved quickly and thoroughly with focus by all areas of the organization.

    There are several positives that are coming out that are helping to keep our sales better than expected (F down 6%??? That was a surprise)

    - All of the latest recalls have been GM initiated, not directed by NHTSA
    - Quality on the latest vehicles remains high
    - Dealer performance during the recalls has been very good (I personally have had my Cruze in 3 times for the halfshaft issue) and have had very pleasant, quick experiences.

    As far as the Colorado/Canyon launch goes things are going very well. I was able to ride/drive about 1,000 miles in a group of 11 trucks through various road conditions from off road to highway and the trucks performed almost flawlessly. This is a premium truck with interior and ride to go along with it. I had a chance to rent a Nissan Frontier recently and it is not even in the same class of design and materials of this truck. You may think I am a bit biased, but just wait until the reviews start coming out.

    Keep the faith guys, GM will come out of this as the safest, highest quality automaker with the most satisfied customers.

  41. C-Tech Says:

    Another big recall, this time from Subaru for brake lines rusting through. Some drivers killed but this does not get as much coverage as GM recalls.

  42. C-Tech Says:

    T.B. will the new Colorado/Canyon be as good as the old S-10/Sonoma ?

  43. C-Tech Says:

    Can you slide an LS3 / LS7 V-8 in it?

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    #40 tha’s because Subaru is all about love, funny thing is that they earned their reputation as a tough,reliable go anywhere vehicle at an affordable price

  45. T. Bejma Says:


    Better C-Tech. I had a 2000 GMC Sonoma Highrider – the best S10 you could buy – and also had a 2005 GMC Canyon – and this is better, by far, than both of them. Won’t be as cheap as the S10 or probably even the old Colorado, but definitely worth the money.

  46. T. Bejma Says:


    I am sure someone will try. With the new version, even the 2WD is pretty high up and you know, I don’t think this design will look good lowered.

    The diesel is going to be fun. With the V6 able to tow 7,000lbs., the diesel should be able to do that with better mileage. I can see people tuning them and turning it into a big black smoke monster with gauges up the A-Pillar… ;-)

  47. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Should I end up with the diesel Colorado the first thing that goes on is an AirDog fuel pkg.Next would be a aftermarket muffler for some free flow,then a cai.We shall see what happens in a year from now.My only real worries with the diesel is the def.When it sits around,or freezing temps,the def tends to cyrstalize,and that throws cels.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A big thing S10/Sonoma had going for them was the price, and the second generation ones even had decent interiors, for the time. I had a ’95 with the 4.3 and 5-speed manual. It was peppy, but thirsty for a vehicle its size.

  49. G.A.Branigan Says:

    My last S10 was a 92 reg cab/long bed 4×4.It had the 4.3L and a 4 spd auto.What a great little truck that was.I drove the hell out of it,including with a slide in camper that I used a bunch,and hauling new harley’s down to S.Carolina to resell at a nice profit.I would love to have a new one that size again,with the new 4.3 and a 6 spd auto.Gets my heart racing just thinking about that,lol.

  50. cwolf Says:

    T.B., it’s nice you still have your radar on and I bet your word on the Colorado is up to snuff. I am wondering if the size of the Colorado is too close to that of a full sized truck, just like the mid-sized Toyota p/u has become. I think the S-10 size truck is one that remains void. Not everyone has a need to tow more than a small boat or lawn mower or jet ski. I don’t know why the trend is to increase size as a model year ages, but I continue to wonder why they don’t just make it better nd more reliable, that to think growing bigger will stimulate sales.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    49, It seems that a lot of Americans still buy vehicles “by the pound.” People who will never use the back seat, much less the cargo or towing capability buy Tahoes rather than Malibus, or even smaller SUV,s. The same happens, even among pickup buyers. Many will buy the bigger one because it is a “better deal,” even though the smaller one is more pleasant to drive, and will haul or tow anything they will ever want to haul or tow.

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit can you blame buyers when a Fiesta ST goes for $21k well equipped and a base Camaro goes for $22k? I mean, how much more “car” are you getting for your money with the Chevy?

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    51, The Fiesta ST I drove was almost 23K, and the only option was a paint color. To me, it depends on what you like. The Fiesta ST is quick, nimble, and would get better gas mileage than the Camaro. The Camaro is, and feels a lot heavier, and has somewhat more rear seat room, and has a much different image.

    I’d probably buy the ST over a base Camaro, but that’s just me. I’m clearly an “outlier.” After all, I bought a turbo, manual transmission minivan. Not many people did that, during the two years they were available.

  54. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Formula 1 T.V. alert: The British Grand Prix will be televised on CNBC this week. Qualifying will be on Saturday beginning at 8 am (eastern) and the race Sunday beginning 7:30 am.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks, Chuck. I wish they’d just broadcast the races on plain NBC, so I could get them with my antenna

  56. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I threw that out (listing the F1) knowing you (Kit) didn’t have NBCSports; thought maybe you got CNBC. Here’s your next best chance for NBC (but only the race, not qualifying):

    United States Grand Prix

    Friday, October 31 – 1:00 p.m. — United States Grand Prix – Practice #2 (NBCSN)
    Saturday, November 1 – 1:00 p.m. — United States Grand Prix – Qualifying (NBCSN)
    Sunday, November 2 – 2:00 p.m. — United States Grand Prix – Race (NBC)

    Brazilian Grand Prix

    Friday, November 7 – 11:00 a.m. — Brazilian Grand Prix – Practice #2 (NBCSN)
    Saturday, November 8 – 11:00 a.m. — Brazilian Grand Prix – Qualifying (CNBC)
    Sunday, November 9 – 1:00 p.m. — Brazilian Grand Prix – Race (NBC)

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks for the additional info.

    When I’m in Florida from late October-late May, I do get CNBC, but when in Indiana during the summer, I use an antenna. It looks like I’ll be able to see the qualifying for Brazil, and the U.S. and Brazilian Grands Prix.

    I keep hoping my FL cable company with add NBCSN to the “standard” station lineup, but so far, no luck.