Car companies don't admit mistakes, but Hiroshi Kajiyama doesn't have a problem fessing up to a few missteps. He's the chief program engineer for the forthcoming 2009 Mazda 6 and although his English isn't perfect, it's clear he knows the current car has problems.

Weak engines, a tight backseat and a dull interior were all on his fix-it list. He talks to us about maintaining plenty of zoom-zoom in the new car, and of course, an exciting exterior design wouldn't hurt either. "We sought an exterior design capable of stirring emotions and distinguishing the Mazda 6 from the competition. We also strived to achieve a character that encourages a strong level of interaction with the driver," says Kajiyama.

He'll need all those things to make the 2009 Mazda 6 a success. Sales of the Mazda 6/626 have stagnated at roughly 80,000 units for more than a decade. Over the same time period, the Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Altima have come out of nowhere to pass it by. Mazda is aiming for over 100,000 yearly sales this time around. Here's what Kajiyama and his team did to make it happen.

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