BMW (UK) has launched the first mobile (cell) phone search system in the country for manufacturer-approved used cars.

"This innovative new search function enables customers to find their ideal used BMW anytime, anywhere from a mobile [phone]," the UK subsidiary said in a statement.

The new system allows a search to be carried out by model and price from any UK BMW dealership, or to search 'Approved Used BMW' stock offered through local dealers.

The search can be narrowed down by fuel type, transmission and preferred options. Search results are specially adapted for use by any WAP-enabled 2.5G or 3.0G mobile device. They include an image of the car and full contact details of the supplying dealer, with the ability to save a car for later reference.

The potential customer activates the mobile search function by sending 'Search' by text message to the number 61100.

BMW (UK) also said it is on track to achieve record used car sales through its dealer network this year with 80,322 BMW 'Approved Used Cars' and Mini 'Cherished' sales booked to the end of October. This is a year-on-year increase of 13.5%.

Sales of BMW branded approved used cars accounted for 59,666 vehicles in the first 10 months, an increase of 10.3% year on year. The X5 3.0d Sport SUV was the single most popular used model, followed by the 320dSE saloon and M3 coupe.

BMW (UK) Managing director Jim O'Donnell said: "New car sales are buoyed by record used car sales and we expect to achieve another record-breaking year in a market that is generally in decline. Approved used cars are the bedrock to strong residual values and support the new car market. We will not rest on our laurels however and will continue to work with our dealers as they focus on this important business opportunity."

The automaker noted that, in 2005, the total UK industry volume for used cars was more than three times that of the [circa-2m] new car market.

According to used car pricing 'bible' Glass's Guide, BMW's highest selling model, the 320dSE saloon currently retains 49.1% of its price new over three years and 36,000 miles - a stronger performance than its competitors.

Top-selling weekly consumer enthusiast magazine Auto Express said recently that BMW had the best residual values in the compact executive and executive sectors. The 318dSE retained 51.6% of its value over three years and the 535dSE 51.7%. The Mini One diesel retained an impressive 61.1%, making it one of the best performers in any sector.

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