AD #1786 – Mazda’s Out Of The Box Thinking, Hyundai Elantra Updates, Cadillac CT6 Design Secrets

January 27th, 2016 at 11:56am

Runtime: 8:17

- Mazda’s Out Of The Box Thinking
- Carmakers Set Production Record In North America
- Hyundai Elantra Updates
- Cadillac CT6 Design Secrets

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49 Comments to “AD #1786 – Mazda’s Out Of The Box Thinking, Hyundai Elantra Updates, Cadillac CT6 Design Secrets”

  1. WineGeek Says:

    It appears that Hyundai has dumbed down the design of the Elantra as they did in the Sonata. The big sales increases they saw a few years ago seem to have been dumbed down as the brand has made the design look like every other car rather than make a distinctive statement.

    I hope I’m wrong,but the new Elantra looks like the Sonata which has been a sales dud compared with previous generations.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    In an interview for Automotive news, Sergio said that the 200 has been a failure due mostly to the designers who made it difficult to access the rear seats. No mention of the iffy nine speed auto or the crappy standard engine opr the fact that they made it too small to compete in the midsize segment. Almost there in size cars, like the otherwise fine Suzuki Kizachi, just don’t make it with buyers.

  3. Lex Says:

    What has happened with the US Mitsubishi Assembly Plant? Would Mazda be interest in that plant?

  4. Rob Says:

    Not sure Mazda is thinking out of the box as the key element behind lean manufacturing (a Toyota staple that started in the 1930s) and looks at reducing any wasted motion. But hey Mazda can try and add their spin.

  5. Rob Says:

    The subtle design cues in the CT6 could be related back to a dozen things IMO. I dont really think pushing the wheels to the very outer corners of the car is anything new everyone knows you get a better ride and handling with a lower wider stance.
    I guess it gives the marketing guys something to do.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2 It’s hard to figure why the powertrain in the 200, etc., doesn’t work better, unless they are just using the wrong gearing. The transmission is the same design as used by other companies, and it seems to get better reviews in other vehicles. Even though the LR Evoque is a grossly overpriced, mediocre vehicle, its powertrain with the ZF 9-speed gets ok reviews.

  7. Drew Says:

    Hyundai continues to backslide. They broke-thru initially with their 10-year/100,000 mile warranty. Then punched up the echelon of 3-rd party quality rankings. Then added unique, expressive styling. Well, the new Elantra follows the Sonata’s backslide. Elantra’s tail lamps look like a direct copy of the Chevy Impala’s. The intstrument panel is uninspired.

    And I don’t understand why the standard engine uses an Atkinson cycle. I recognize the potential fuel economy benefit, but the Atkinson cycle compromises torque (which is offset in other Atkinson applications via an electric motor). With the compromised torque, drivers are more apt to go deeper into the throttle. So, I suspect real world fuel economy to be compromised.

    To many people, John Krafcik was served up as the escape goat for Hyundai’s fuel economy label faux pax. But the Atkinson Elantra has me thinking Hyundai is still giving lip service to fuel economy.

    John said it’d be over his dead body if Hyundai backslid on expressive design. Now we know why he and Hyundai parted ways.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3 I think Diamond Star recently closed, and is for sale.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 They will probably use extra short lower gears, to get “normal feeling” low speed acceleration with the Atkinson cycle engine.

    In any case, it will be interesting to see if it actually gets better real-work gas mileage than the previous Elantra. I’m not holding my breath.

  10. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Thanks Sean for your response to my comment yesterday; I in error quoted a maxed out CT6 (at 87 thousand). Your quoting the amount of the cars you tested clarified much (for me); I thought you could only get the magna-ride and four wheel steer with the Platinum; I now see they are listed as options on some of the other models.

    I’m not buying that ‘out of the box thinking’ that Mazda is trying to proclaim. Of course if you do everything (a little quicker) you can increase production (theoretically) but you have to take into consideration whether your workforce can adjust, can it be maintained and is there any incentive (to the workers) to provide “quick time march”.

  11. Tony Gray Says:

    #1 and #7: Agree completely. I was stunned when I saw the current generation Sonata, and not in a good way. A friend has a 2013 Sonata Limited and I think it still looks contemporary, and way more so than the generic one they peddle today. I am a bit less dismayed in the new Elantra, probably because I didn’t see it quite as lovely a sculpture in sheet metal as its larger sibling.

  12. HtG Says:

    It’s hard not to give Sergio M the nod for what ails the 200. That roofline really does descend into your way. I’ve tried it and even asked a 5’10″ autoshow product specialist to let me photo her in the back seat. Probably SM knows exactly what customers don’t like about the 200. Looks good though!

    (please don’t let Peter D. know I didn’t bust Sergio’s chops)

  13. Rob Says:

    #10 Not only does your workforce have to adjust but it just doesnt work as Mazda described. If the cycle time in the plant is 30 seconds and you can manage to get every single job 5 seconds faster except one, you will still only run at the rate of the slowest job.

  14. Rob Says:

    #7 The use of an Atkinson engine makes me question plans for a future hybrid Hyundai.

  15. C-Tech Says:

    This Mazda manager is squeezing the margin for error in both the human elements and the machine elements of production. If he is right, then Mazda workers are fairly slow now.

  16. HtG Says:

    What is Mazda’s Davis really trying to tell us? Is Mazda’s market share ‘Head Office Constrained?’

  17. C-Tech Says:

    GM being GM, when does Buick get a version of the new CT6?

  18. HtG Says:

    Trying to imagine the CT6 with ’56 Dagmars.

    Better stop

  19. Roger Blose Says:

    It is a shame that the designers of the CT6 ended up going to Pep Boys for those awful amber front fender side markers. They should have been added to the LED Star Wars vertical lamps in a clean design.

  20. Steve W Says:

    I think the comparison of the CT6 lower front to the ’56 Caddy is a bit of a stretch! Nobody would notice that!

  21. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 17,C-Tech: A new Buick 225?

  22. G.A.Branigan Says:,19015/1967-Buick-Electra-225_photo.aspx

  23. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Beautiful,except for the front tires…

  24. Gordon Garside Says:

    I too am completely dismayed by the second-in-a-row dumbing down of Hyundai’s styling efforts. I was hugely disappointed by the last Sonata, but the latest iteration of Elantra is even more disappointing. I fear for the worst. At least the new Tucson captured the purposefulness and fantastic presence of the larger Santa Fe and congrats to Hyundai for not messing up that one. I once read somewhere that is early revamping and ruination of both the Sonata and (now) Elantra had a lot to do with the reaction from car buyers in Korea. I seem to recall that they just didn’t like the brash Americanized (their words not mine) exaggerated styling of the Sonata and that started the process for this early and disappointed rethink of how these cars are now appearing.

  25. Rob Says:

    #24 global appeal is difficult for sure.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    More from Sergio: Dart and 200 going bye bye. What the heck are rental agencies gonna use now?

  27. merv Says:

    that new ct6 is awesome,I think cadillac hit a home run with this

  28. Tony Gray Says:

    #25. Interesting but you wonder why they couldn’t have just rebodied the cars for the home market. I don’t know what the volumes they deal with in Korea, but I would think that keeping the hardpoints and interior the same and only tweaking some sheet metal would have been relatively inexpensive.

    But really I have no idea. All I know is that my friend will NOT be trading in her 2013 Sonata for a new one. I believe her feelings are quite prevalent.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When the “flashier” Sonata was introduced, it was criticised as being over-styled, and often compared with the “classier” Accord. I guess a lot of people got used to that Sonata.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    #29 I remember the term “Appears to be moving even when standing still” used to get on my nerves.

  31. W L Simpson Says:

    Styling/wise , the constant pressure for new & different outweighs good taste & common sense.
    I remember years ago reading about “death duels” being fought over a single line of an artist’s drawing pencil.+

  32. HtG Says:


    Who remembers a few years ago when on this comment board I wrote that Hyundai would tone down the styling of Sonata as their owner base aged and, ahem, ‘earned their pot bellies and saddle bags?’ I remember. And now we have the new vanilla, low salt Elantra. Wonder what color the dealers will order them in?

    I think I’ve noticed a single newer Sonata. It snuck up on me in the parking lot, parked to my left. The rest of them are invisible in the wild, I guess.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 The styling of the mid-50′s through early 70′s was a lot more interesting, but not entirely tasteful.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32 Yeah, there was a lot of discussion about the “shelf life” of the then-new Sonata.

    Might 2/3 of the new ones at the dealer be silver, and the other third white? I suspect the same will apply with the Elantra.

  35. HtG Says:

    I’ll say one thing, there’s a new Toyota Tundra parked every morning in the gym lot.

    It’s ORANGE. !ORANGE! It’s got a 5.7L V8. It takes up four spots because the owner is that kind of guy. Huge and loud.*

    *a very nice guy really. And huge.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As far as I’m concerned, the guy’s truck should be towed, keyed, or both, if he’s taking 4 parking places. Inconsiderate jerk.

    I like his choice of color, though. We need more color in our automotive landscape.

  37. HtG Says:

    He’s gone by 6am. There’s plenty of spots at that time.* But man, this guy takes up space in the gym, in the locker room. Just that kind of person.

    *The guy I want to key has the M5 with matte black paint and wheels he hasn’t washed since the summer. Options dealing bankster.

    Priorities, Kit, priorities.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yep, priorities, and if the truck guy is only there at slow times, not so bad.

  39. HtG Says:

    Parked at the back of the lot near the Tundra is the Maserati Ghibli. Her spanish owner is running on the treadmill every morning, in her black tights. And doing exercises. Total mindf*ck. Try not to think about it, America.

  40. Ziggy Says:


    At the risk of repeating myself from a prior installment, could we get the RPM that the max power and torque are produced at when you quote those numbers? It would go along way to knowing how much you have to rev it to get it going. Big numbers at stratospheric heights on the tach “don’t impress me much”. Thanks.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    39 Interesting, the urban life.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40 Why do car companies put tachs in cars with automatic transmissions, which make up most of the U.S. market?

  43. C-Tech Says:

    Kit, I don’t know if it is intentional, but the tach makes it easier to diagnose trans problems quickly.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, that is true, like non-working torque converter clutches.

  45. mark Says:

    Wow- excellent show today…I especially liked the Cadillac style analysis. I like the longer length and deeper dive. Well done

  46. Earl Says:

    2,12,24….The heritage of the 200 when it used to be the Sebring and other names in the 80′s hand 90′s is not good.That’s why the used other names. GM was famous for that stunt too. You would think Sergio and Co would know that selling POS is difficult but back pre Sergio days Chrysler brand cars were well known for reliability issues and this led to poor durability. I never owned a Chrysler product but know people that have and in spite of problems they continue to buy them again.

  47. FSTFWRD Says:

    Mazda // Should be making a small truck in this country!! Remember the last of the Japanese built B2200/B2600 trucks, they were the best. Give the Tacoma some competition, as they are really the only game in town right now.

    Hyundai // I don’t think the styling hurts sales. Most everybody that I know that buys a Korean car does it for price and content. But most regret that the vehicle does not live up to Honda or Toyota when it comes to long term customer service.

    Just my 2 pennies.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    46 Some of Chrysler’s current products, like the rear drive cars, Grand Cherokee, and pickups are very good, but a car company can’t build a long term future on those products. Even if they drop the Dart and 200, for now, they will need competitive cars in those classes for the future.

    I actually like the appearance of the 200, but in in multiple ways, it is not competitive.

  49. paulstewart Says:

    What’s the cost of the option on the LED Taillights, and reporting would be Greatly appreciated !?!