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    BMW's Lead is Under Threat
    BMW's Lead is Under Threat

    Despite impressive results of BMW in October 2011, the company is unlikely to become this year's profit leader.

    In October, BMW sold 115,136 vehicles, which is a 6.8% rise over the same period a year earlier. According to Automotive News, the sales are boosted by demand for the X3 crossover and the 5-series sedan. The automaker reported that sales of the 5-series increased to 25,000 units (up 10.8%) in October, and sales of the BMW X3 reached 10,949 vehicles. The overall result is not that encouraging though.

    As the sales growth slowed to 9% in Q3 from 18.5% in Q2, the company lost its profitability lead in the high-end car segment, passing the crown to Audi. The Munich-based company is also spending around € 500M in the second half of the year to introduce its next-generations of the 3-series sedan and 1-series compact, which is supposed to eat the earnings. In addition, earnings may further be eroded by the slowing demand for luxury cars. The manufacturer still hopes that the overhauled models will help them to maintain the leading position. And even though BMW's profit lead is uncertain for now, the company will keep the sales lead with the 1.3M vehicles (15.2% up) after the first 10 months of the year, compared to Audi's 973,200 units.

    BMW's iDrive Gets Improved iPod Functionality
    BMW's iDrive Gets Improved iPod Functionality

    An iDrive is a computer system which is used to control most secondary vehicle systems in current BMW cars. The system runs under the Windows CE control. An iDrive's user interface consists of an LCD panel mounted in the dashboard and a controller knob mounted on the center console. The next step in developing BMW's iDrive into Connected Drive is the increase of compatibility with peripheral devices.

    Now the BMW owners can control an iPod Touch or the iPhone using the same Apple interface on the car's console screen. Using this service you can operate on the console screen of your BMW not only navigational system or musiñ files, but any other application you install on your iPod Touch or the iPhone. The iDrive system has an integrated application to use social networks like Facebook or Twitter and an Internet radio Pandora. In future the developers will extend the functionality of this system.

    BMW Goes for LCD Gauges
    BMW Goes for LCD Gauges

    According to Autoblog, BMW is equipping the next-generation 5- and 7-Series sedans with LCD displays just like its rivals, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Land Rover. The engineering of interface system has been already started by a team in Munich, Germany and BMW's Technology Office in Mountain View, California. The high-tech programmable gauge interface will be capable of displaying such crucial information as tachometer, speedometer, odometer, navigation, fuel levels, oil temperature, and other infotainment data. The driver will be provided with the traditional information, but in an innovative way. As stated by BMW engineer, not only aesthetic aspect was taken into consideration while designing the gauge display, but creating something from a scratch to offer the driver some form of customization.

    Appearing as a black canvas, rather than a digital representation of analog gauges, the programmable custom liquid crystal display gauge interface may be offered as an option. Its advantage is functionality, being capable of re-arranging in accordance with selected driving mode. For instance, the tachometer may be featured more noticable in a Sport mode enhanced with a shift light, while in an Eco mode it may be interchanged with a fuel economy gauge. Indeed, LCD dash is much more successful gauge from technology and engineering viewpoint. The company believes that keeping the user-tweakability to a minimum results in the ease-of-use and general readability.