While most automobile owners fondly recall the exhilaration of driving their new car for the first time, few relish the memory of spending hours filling out financing paperwork at the dealership.

Now, on-line tools from BMW Financial Services are simplifying the buying process by allowing customers to complete paperwork from their home, office or hotel room.

Prospective BMW buyers in all 50 states now can log onto the company's web site #www.bmwusa.com and build the car of their dreams, apply for financing, receive credit approval notification and have their BMW retailer notified of their financing request within hours.

Approved customers can walk into their BMW retailer with their preliminary research, legwork and completed credit approval.

More than 60% of BMW's on-line visitors are car-shopping, says Lindsay Duffield, managing director of U.S. BMW Financial Services.

"Our best customers are informed customers," he says.

Consumers who log on to the website begin by choosing the model they want from the full-line of new automobiles on BMW'S Virtual Center.

Online visitors are guided through a series of choices such as interior and exterior colors and options that allow them to "build" the vehicle they want.

Next, consumers select the financing option (lease or finance) that best matches their individual driving habits.

Then, the BMW Financial Services payment estimator will calculate an approximate mon-thly payment on the selected BMW.

Finally, the consumer can submit a credit application dir-ectly to BMW Financial Services.

Once the ap-plication is sub-mitted, BMW Financial Services will evaluate the application, typically within hours of receiving it. Consumers are automatically told of their approval status via e-mail. The decision also is simultaneously routed to the BMW dealership selected by the customer

Mark Anthony Webb, warranty claim administrator at Chuck Hutton Chevrolet/Oldsmobile in Memphis, TN has won J&L Warranty Pro's "Warranty Pro of the Year" contest.

The honor comes with a plaque and a lap top computer.

"We know that warranty administrators have a difficult and thankless job," says Jay Weaver, director of operations for the Auburn Hills, MI-based J&L Warranty Pros. "There is a need for giving recognition to these people."

The winner and five runners up were chosen from hundreds of nominees submitted by managers and dealer principals.