Chrysler Corp. and Daimler-Benz AG also have been converging on their approaches to engineering software.
Both have embraced CATIA computer software in their product development departments.
Chrysler has praised the French-designed software in recent years and has credited it with shaving months off the typical engineering project. Chrysler has even pressed its suppliers to buy into CATIA.
One of several design-and-communication programs that are available commercially, CATIA enables engineers to draft in three dimensions and move drawings from office to office for changes and additions.
Daimler apparently agrees with the assessment. It used CATIA to develop its first sport-utility, the ML320, which was designed and engineered in Germany and then moved into an Alabama factory.
Daimler has been expanding its use of CATIA and now plans to do away with a second, home-grown engineering software system in favor of CATIA.
The common system could make the Daimler-Chrysler merger a bit easier. Even though the two companies could still transmit drawings back and forth using two different programs, data and drawings often fail to translate perfectly. With a single system, data translation is one less headache.