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BMW and Mini introduce online new car stock finder




BMW Group UK has launched a new digital car locator tool that allows BMW and Mini customers to find in-stock new cars via the respective brand websites.

The New Car Locator has real time access to the entire network of new stock vehicles at retailers across the UK and each vehicle listing includes extensive technical details, specification information, pricing and accompanying imagery.

If a customer finds a vehicle they want to buy, the final step of the process involves either submitting a contact enquiry to the chosen retailer, or paying a £500 reservation deposit by credit or debit card.

Where customers choose to reserve their car online, their selected retailer will contact them directly to discuss the next step.

Chris Brownridge, sales director at BMW Group UK, said: “In what is clearly going to be a challenging year for automotive retail, it is more important than ever that we provide customers with the right tools to research their next vehicle from home.

“The new BMW and Mini vehicle locators deliver more choice for our customers with powerful search tools and seamless integration into our national and retailer websites, providing a full end-to-end customer experience. The investment in this technology also supports our retail partners by promoting all their current stock to potential customers, digitally, for the first time.”

BMW Group brands in the UK are now seeing a sustained rise in web traffic. BMW online car reservations were up by 130% in May on the previous month, with this trend continuing into June.

The German car maker is one of a number of brands investing in digital sales platforms. Manufacturers inluding Groupe PSA, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and VW Group have all expanded their online presence in the wake of the pandemic.

To start the process, BMW and Mini customers select the models they are interested in and set their initial budget (monthly or ‘on the road’). They enter their postcode and are prompted to select one retailer from a list of their five closest locations. Newly introduced functionality provides for a powerful search of the retailer’s local, group and national new vehicle stock that is typically available for handover within two weeks.

Vehicles can be sorted by ‘on the road’ pricing, or, thanks to full integration with BMW Financial Services, by the customer’s monthly payment budget. The latter feature supports a high level of refinement as customers are able to adjust their finance product, deposit contribution, contract duration and/or mileage terms to suit their circumstances.

Results can then be filtered based on personal preferences such as colour combinations, fuel types, transmission and more. Up to three vehicles can be added to a shortlist throughout the refinement process and compared side by side in detail.



Re-Imagining Electrical System Design




Electrical system complexity is reaching a tipping point across industries, from modern passenger vehicles to sophisticated industrial machines that can now contain nearly 5,000 wiring harnesses. The electrical systems of these machines contain multiple networks, thousands of sensors and actuators, miles of wiring and tens of thousands of discrete components. Designing these complex systems is a significant challenge itself, but there also needs to be understanding of how system requirements move into manufacturing and maintenance processes.

Producing the next generation of products will require updated methodologies that support complete traceability, employ automation and blur the boundaries between electrical domains. This paper examines how a model-based approach, implemented with an advanced portfolio of engineering software, can provide these capabilities to empower the creation of tomorrow’s products.

To read more, click here.


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A trip to Africa inspired this wardrobe-washing bicycle attachment




Transcript: Wash your clothes and get a workout. This bicycle attachment washes your clothes while you ride. While in Africa washing his clothes, creator Rich Hewitt was inspired to simplify the process. He came up with SpinCycle, an attachable device for your bicycle. It uses the back wheel to spin the barrel and begin the washing. When you’re done, you can then remove the bike from the washing basin and ride to your destination.

Although SpinCycle isn’t available for purchase as far as we could find, but if you’re just looking for a solid bicycle to get around on, check out the Schwinn Mountain Bike. It’s a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon and can get you started in the right direction if you’re looking to expand your cycling horizons.

Schwinn High Timber Youth and Adult Mountain Bike – $379.99 at

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability is subject to change.


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What did you do during lockdown? Right, you were playing ‘Grand Theft Auto’




Now we know what all of you have been doing during the pandemic, and it wasn’t necessarily all working from home:

Sony Corp. said Tuesday that its April-June profit jumped 53% as its video game and other online businesses thrived with people staying home due to the coronavirus lockdown.

And Take-Two Interactive Software said it sold over 15 million units of “Grand Theft Auto V” in the first two quarters of the year, as more people lapped up the action-adventure videogame to keep themselves entertained in lockdown.

Sony reported a 233 billion yen ($2.2 billion) profit for the most recent quarter, up from 152 billion yen the year before.

On the flip side, Sony warned that its movies division would likely suffer for two or three years due to filming delays and closed theaters. Consumer demand for electronics products has also plunged, including sales of digital cameras, TVs and other gadgets, according to Sony.

Meanwhile, Sony unveiled its prototype of an electric car, highlighting the reach of consumer electronics into new sectors in the digital age.

The company is projecting a 510 billion yen ($4.8 billion) profit for the fiscal year that ends in March 2021, down 12% from the previous fiscal year.

Sony said music streaming was doing well, as people stayed home due to the pandemic, but other parts of its music business have suffered. Online video content also is doing well, it said.

Video game operations got a big lift from people signing on to network services. There are now 45 million PlayStation Plus subscribers, a paying online membership for games, and Sony is planning a major upgrade with the PlayStation 5 to go on sale later this year.

Take-Two shares, which are up more than 37% this year, hit a record high of $180.61, a day after it reported a blockbuster quarter.

“Grand Theft Auto V”, the seventh installment of the franchise, follows the story of three protagonists – Trevor, Franklin and Michael – as they find their way through a fictitious California-like state to accomplish missions involving car-chases and shootouts.

Take-Two sold over 25 million units of “Grand Theft Auto V” globally in the last 12 months, more than double that of a year earlier.

The company also joined rival videogame publisher Electronic Arts Inc in raising its annual sales forecast as demand for their popular videogames soars.

U.S. spending on video games in June surged 26% to $1.2 billion, the highest for the month in over a decade, according to research firm NPD, as people turned to games for relaxation during lockdowns and also purchased more in-game content.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.


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