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Daimler's change is driven by compatibility issues between its CAD and PDM software

Daimler's preparations for its planned switch from Catia to Siemens NX are progressing and the carmaker has, in the words of one insider, entered the "hot phase" of the transition. Two-thirds of CAD software users still need to run through their prepatory training before the changeover takes effect April 2015.

Daimler announced in 2011 that it would make the switch from Dassault Systemes' Catia to the competing Siemens software. The move was a direct result of Catia's close linkage with Dassault Systemes' Enovia product data management software (PDM).Daimler uses proprietary PDM software called Smaragd, which is based on Siemens' Teamcenter product. Smaragd is not compatible with Catia V6.

Daimler has already trained 2,000 of the 6,000 staff that will be using the software. The remaining 4,000 will go through training programs in the course of this year.

Special rollout managers are overseeing the process in the different business areas and, as part of a modular training concept, users are getting courses that are directly linked to their specific roles in car design.

Daimler isn't the first carmaker to switch from Catia to Siemens NX. After Fiat acquired its controlling stake in Chrysler, the US car brand harmonized its CAD systems with Fiat and switched to NX.

Other carmakers won't comment on whether they are considering a change in their CAD software. BMW and Volkswagen are both using Catia on contracts that are up for renewal in the next couple of years. Volkswagen has been working to establish Siemens Teamcenter worldwide across its various brands for several years.