27 July 2010: Within a day of seeing the official announcement that Chrysler will use Siemens NX as its new digital development software, I had the opportunity to interview and speak with several Siemens PLM executives to find out more about this big win.
First some background. Currently a Dassault Systemes (DS) CATIA customer, Chrysler is bailing out of CATIA, changing it out for Siemens NX software. Chrysler’s acquisition of American Motors in 1987 netted Chrysler the first North American automotive user of CATIA. Chrysler rapidly adopted CATIA as its worldwide design system. The company was so enthusiastic about CATIA that they insisted all their primary suppliers use the same software to eliminate data transfer issues.
So what happened?
As Siemens PLM Software executive David Taylor, Sr. Director of Automotive and Machining Marketing explained, Chrysler, apparently dissatisfied with DS PLM offerings, began using Teamcenter software in 2008. The company’s failed merger with Daimler Benz, their subsequent bankruptcy, and their partnership with Italy’s Fiat further pushed the company to consider Siemens PLM software. It turns out that Fiat uses NX and Teamcenter.
Taylor further explained that in an exhaustive benchmark, Chrysler found Teamcenter to be more efficient, particularly it and NX’s role based approach. Other factors included synchronous technology, Teamcenter’s proven scalability, and its ability to serve as the PLM backbone for competitive CAD systems almost as well as it serves NX.
When asked whether he could provide some metrics on the win such as numbers of potential seats or dollars involved, Taylor refused, as did Kartsen Newbury, head of the Solid Edge business unit, in a recent interview.
Chrysler plans to implement the software for new projects. As stated in the press release, “Chrysler Group will initially use Siemens’ NX™ software engineering tool for new collaborative Chrysler-Fiat vehicle and powertrain development programs beginning with the Fiat 500, Fiat 500EV, the 1.4-liter Fully Integrated Robotized Engine (FIRE), and the new Chrysler Group C segment vehicle.” That means that CATIA will be around Chrysler for a very long time and no doubt continue to compete for Chrysler business in the future.
Asked about where Siemens stands in the Auto industry, Taylor cited its major presence in GM, Ford, VW, Nissan, Mazda, Daimler Benz, and of course – Fiat.