Anyone that's ever tried to get divergent computer systems to play nice knows that it's not a trivial matter. And when two automakers come together, getting everyone on the same page is both enormously difficult and critically important if the enterprise is to succeed. Chrysler is all too familiar with lackluster enterprises thanks to failed marriage to Daimler, and with it's recent Italian tie-up, the (software) language barrier could cause some problems.
Now that Chrysler has hooked up with Fiat, the two engineering teams need to consolidate the design software that they use to develop new products. As we learned in the Chevy Cruze safety story, computer aided design and simulation is the foundation to being able to develop products that meet regulations around the world.
Chrysler's engineers have been using Catia from Dassault Systems for more than two decades while Fiat uses the other major brand Siemens PLM's NX software. CEO Sergio Marchionne wants everyone in his domain to use the Siemens software for new projects. Unfortunately, the problem goes well beyond just switching out the software at the Chrysler tech center. Suppliers will also have to buy new software because they share design models with the automaker and they need compatibility. Chrysler has begun using the Siemens software for the modifications to the North American version of the Fiat 500, but it could be some time before the issue is resolved completely.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub Req'd]