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Bentley launches new certified pre-owned program

Bentley has launched a new CPO program designed to give used car buyers confidence in their purchase.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Honda has one. Toyota too. Now Bentley Motors has launched a certified pre-owned program (CPO) that the luxury automaker says, "offers buyers complete peace of mind, an exclusive certificate of authenticity, and opens the door to the extraordinary world of Bentley itself."

Called "Certified by Bentley" the business model is similar to other CPO programs. Each used vehicle that comes into the Bentley dealership to be readied for sale will be given a technical inspection, then it's fully serviced using only genuine Bentley parts. Each Certified by Bentley purchase comes with a comprehensive 12 months warranty that can be further extended should the buyer choose.

The vehicles each also receive a certificate of authenticity, which provides evidence of where it was manufactured and a full service history.

"When a customer selects a Certified by Bentley car, they are making an investment in a brand that has always crafted extraordinary vehicles," said Mark Keeping, Head of Pre-Owned at Bentley Motors. "The exceptional quality of every car, means that whether new or Certified by Bentley, owning a Bentley is a wise decision."

Bently is touting the cost savings buyers will experience with the new program. "Costs of ownership are lower than might otherwise be expected, making owning a Bentley an option for a wider number of potential customers," said Keeping. "And every car hand-built at our headquarters in Crewe, England, meets the same exquisite standards regardless of when it was built."

Additionally, buyers who purchase Certified by Bentley products also receive access to exclusive events around the world, a Bentley Factory Tour, and a subscription to the Bentley Magazine among other benefits.

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BMW's newest works are equal parts art and car.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW has revealed "The Ultimate AI Masterpiece", an exploration of automobiles at the intersection of art in conjunction with Frieze New York 2021, as well as the 50th anniversary of BMW Group Cultural Engagement. The virtual art installation is supported by videos of the exhibit's creation process on YouTube and Instagram.

The installment is the brain child of creative technologist Nathan Shipley of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, and Gary Yeh, art connoisseur/founder of artDrunk. The duo used the NVIDIA StyleGAN artificial intelligence model to "cross-reference over 50,000 images of artwork spanning 900 years of history and a curated set of 50 works from renowned and emerging contemporary artists BMW has worked with over the past 50 years", according to a release.

Frieze New York 2021: "The Ultimate AI Masterpiece"

Photo courtesy of BMW

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The artificial intelligence then used those pieces to create entirely new art, merging classical art with the work of contemporary artists. These new works have been projection-mapped onto a virtual rendition of BMW's flagship 8 Series Gran Coupe.

"For 50 years, BMW has supported the arts and culture through numerous initiatives as a way engage and interact with consumers around the world in an authentic way," said Uwe Dreher, vice president of marketing, BMW of North America. "As we continue these efforts into 2021, and look for new and creative ways to engage audiences, we shift to a virtual setting where we are combining centuries-old art and the latest AI technology to create something completely new and exciting."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shipley and Yeh collaborated digitally from their homes in San Francisco and Seoul for the project.

"During an unusually isolated time in history, we took the opportunity to curate and work with artists from around the world as a means to give viewers a true art experience digitally," said Gary Yeh, art collector and founder of ArtDrunk. It was particularly exciting to push the boundaries of art, see how technology may influence the art world in the years to come, and build on 50 years of cultural engagement at BMW."

Frieze New York is currently in its 10th edition and taking place at The Shed in Manhattan through May 9. The venue is new and features an event reimagined for its new location, bringing together over 60 major galleries. A dedicated edition of Frieze Viewing Room will run parallel to the fair, through May 14, and will feature an expanded list of over 160 exhibitors.

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Toyota's Indiana plant is getting a makeover and adding two models.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

In the middle of a press release regarding an $800 million investment in Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI), Toyota let it slip that two new models will find their place on the production line there - one Toyota and one Lexus.

The two new three-row SUVs are designed with the "active Gen Y American Family in mind". To figure out what they will be, look no further than our list of the new vehicle trademarks that Toyota and Lexus have put forth in the last few months.

The automaker has already filed to trademark the names "Grand Highlander", "TX350", and "TX500h". If you were a gambler, you'd want to put money on at least one of these models being a take on the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept that was presented a few years ago at the North American International Auto Show. That three-row, coupe-like SUV was a touch ahead of the trend in terms of body styling and was very well received by dealers, media, and the public.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept The Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept was well-received by dealers, media, and the public when it premiered half a decade ago.Photo courtesy of Lexus

There's also the possibility that the forthcoming "Grand Highlander" may be a new Sequoia under a fresh name.

The "TX350" and "TX500h" filing makes it apparent that the vehicle will likely come with the same base engine as the Lexus RX, a 3.5-liter V6, and perhaps get a hybrid variant of the 5.0-liter V8 that's in the forthcoming 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport.

The release also said that the vehicles will have a semi-automated driving system. Lexus Teammate, a system with characteristics similar to what Toyota has described, will come first to the 2022 Lexus LS 500h. It has Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation", according to the automaker.

The announcement from Toyota says that the details of the forthcoming eight-passenger vehicles will be announced "at a later date".

"Over the past 20 years, Toyota has led the way with more electrified vehicles on the road than all automakers combined," said Ted Ogawa, president and CEO of Toyota Motor North America. "This investment and new vehicle line-up will allow us to continue our work with electrification, expand our portfolio to around 70 models globally by 2025, and meet the needs of our customers while we accelerate towards carbon neutrality."

Traditionally it takes 12 to 18 months to build out a factory following an announcement of this nature.

The investment in TMMI will bring 1,400 new jobs to the Princeton, Indiana plant. The factory, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, currently has over 7,200 employees. It's currently the home of the Toyota Sienna, Sequoia, and Highlander.

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