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With a near exponential growth of in-car, embedded electronic systems, the automotive industry is facing extreme challenges in the flawless delivery of such systems within ever decreasing delivery time scales. Model based design is one potential methodology to meet these challenges. This paper describes research into model based design of a particular automotive electronic system, using the SysML modelling language. Key diagrams have been identified and selected from the full set of SysML diagram types as being representative of a typical system development. This paper shows how to make use of those key diagram types to enable automotive engineers to model both architecture and functionality of the automotive electronic system. Conclusions are drawn about how the model can benefit the development of such automotive electronic systems.