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Top 7+ Best CAD Modelling Software for Automotive Applications

6 Mins read
  • September 2022 Update
CAD Modelling Software for Automotive Applications
Above: CAD Modelling Software for Automotive Applications/Image Source: Autodesk

Have you ever wondered if there was an ideal CAD modelling software for automotive applications? If so, you’ve come to the right place. And even if you are not wondering about the question, it is always beneficial to be aware of the best CAD modelling software that can be used efficiently in automobile part design.

With the adoption of 3D printing in the automotive industry, new-age car design software has gained importance, and the demand for designers familiar with the additive manufacturing design principles is increasing. As a result, it is recommended that any designer aspiring to work in the automotive sector understand 3D printing technology, be trained in top car designing software, understand how it affects the industry, and know how to design digital automotive models.

There is not just one, but several cad software used in automotive industry that are ideal for product development. Check out our list of the top 7 CAD Modelling Software for Automotive Applications for users to consider for their design requirements.

3D Modelling Software for Automotive Applications


CAD modelling software
Above: Catia Automotive design and assembly/Image Source: Dassault Systèmes’

Catia, Dassault Systèmes’ multi-platform software suite, is by far the best-in-class surface modelling software on the market. It is one of the best car design software used by engineers. This CAD modelling software for automotive applications is popularly used for vehicle body design. It is also widely employed for engineering models, and it provides a comprehensive solution for designing, shaping, and managing the integration of chassis and powertrains, Class A surfaces, and interior design into the automotive product lifecycle.


SolidWorks, the solid modelling software by Dassault Systèmes’, is widely used in the automotive and transportation industries because it provides versatile capabilities that meet industry standards. It has an easy-to-use interface and can be used for design or mechanical part creation. It is also one of the best cad software for automotive design. Designs can be virtually validated quickly to reduce time to manufacturing. Solidworks CAD modelling software provides a variety of solutions for visualising, simulating, developing electrical systems, as well as CAM and surfacing tools for creating a complete 3D CAD model for automotive applications.

Creo Parametric

software for automobile applications
Above: Creo Parametric for car engine design and simulation/Image Source: PTC Creo

Creo Parametric, a solid modelling software by PTC, is a great CAD modelling software for automotive applications. The software is ideal for creating precise 3D models. It enables users to rapidly simulate the entire manufacturing process to predict where errors and flaws may occur. Technical surfacing, 2D and 3D drawings, designs, and model assembly are all possible with this software. Furthermore, thanks to its user-friendly interface, this CAD software is extremely simple to use.

Autodesk Inventor

Because of its professional-grade product design and engineering capabilities, Autodesk Inventor CAD modelling software can be used for automotive applications. It is ideal for any mechanical design, which is a necessary component of any automotive design. Inventor provides a variety of modelling options as well as excellent simulation tools. This CAD programme is ideal for any automotive designer.


Rhino is a professional tool often used by engineers and 3D designers. Rhino CAD modelling software, in addition to many other applications, can be used effectively for automotive applications. This nurbs curves-based software is relatively simple to use and learn. Designers with little experience will be able to create high-quality models. Rhino parts can also be optimised for 3D printing.


CAD Modelling Software for automobile Applications
Above: Autodesk Alias Software/Image Source: Autodesk

Alias is an Autodesk software predominantly used in automobile design and Industrial Design for generating Class A surfaces using Bézier surface and NURBS modelling method. This CAD modelling software for automotive applications is ideal for all types of designing purposes. Companies like Tesla Inc. who delivered a record 201,250 vehicles in Q2 2021 and other automobile companies like Aston Martin, Lucid Motors, etc. are using Alias software for their automotive design requirements.


Blender is a free and open-source 3D modelling programme. The programme includes simulation tools as well as support for polygon meshes and nurbs. Blender provides a faster way to design complex geometries such as a car. It can significantly reduce design time, allowing for quicker design decisions. Once initial designing decisions are made, engineers can rely on other design software like Alias, etc. Tata Motors is one organisation that is known to use Blender for first-level designing of car models.

Additional Options

3Ds Max

Autodesk 3Ds Max, unlike the majority of other CAD modelling software applications, is an excellent option for beginners. This software will teach you the fundamentals of surface modelling, as well as advanced poly-modelling techniques that will accelerate your modelling process. It is ideal for automotive applications as it can make realistic car designs. A majority of professional designers use this 3Ds Max to create high-end renderings. It also works with Virtual Reality, which makes it easier for design engineers to visualise the models and to make immersive and interactive architectural visualisations based on Autodesk Stingray.


Designing an Open-Access F1 Car on the Cloud
Above: Designing an Open-Access F1 Car on the Cloud/Source: OnShape

Onshape is a cloud-native product development platform that combines full-featured CAD, integrated PDM, and enterprise analytics in a single system, allowing your company to create high-quality products quickly, collaboratively, and securely.

OnShape’s unique capabilities make it an indispensable tool in the arsenal of automotive manufacturers. The OnShape car design software not only helps businesses get work done faster and communicate more effectively, but it also helps them modernise their product design process.

OnShape offers a range of integrations like:

  • CAD for Parts, Assemblies, Drawings, Configurations, etc.
  • Data Management for Product data management (PDM), Bill of Materials (BOMs), etc
  • Collaboration Tools for Real-time design review, Live chat and commenting, etc.
  • Security and Audit Controls for secure cloud platform, Two-factor authentication, etc.
  • Analytics and Reporting by project, user or document, Complete design history and change log, etc.
  • Integrations and Partners for Live business and engineering integrations for ERP, PLM, Single sign-on (SSO), Simulation, and CAM.
  • Prototyping

Prototyping is the most important and widely known application of 3D printing in the automotive industry. While companies are working to advance the technology, car manufacturers are currently exploring the technology at the prototyping scale to learn the technology better.

  • Limited-Edition Vintage Car Parts

This is a very specific use case of 3D printing. Some companies, such as Mercedes-Benz, have cleared 3D printing for the printing of obsolete vintage car parts to service its loyal customers who still drive their classic cars. The company, a few years ago, cleared a new range of 3D printed replacement parts for maintaining its classic cars, such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé, a few years ago (W 198 model series).

  • Series Production

Many automakers have recognized the potential of 3D printing in the manufacturing of automotive parts, and they are now optimizing the technology to bring it to series production. BMW recently opened a dedicated facility to lead the adoption of AM in the automotive sector. This massive investment demonstrates how rapidly the use of AM is expanding in the automotive industry.

  • Customised Parts

3D printing allows users to create dimensionally accurate, aesthetically pleasing, and customised parts. This enables automakers to shorten lead times while also lowering production costs for low-volume requirements.

Companies such as Volkswagen and others are experimenting with one-of-a-kind designs, car interior components, and even critical metal parts such as tailgates, gear-shift knobs, and so on to be consistently 3D printed.


Now that you all know about the best software for car design, you have a list that will help you get started. By carefully understanding each of the software, its pros, and cons, you can effectively finalise which software you want to learn and professionally for your next automotive project.

You can also use multiple software for different projects as different software is suited for different models. This will give you greater flexibility and make you a better designer. Knowing the list of CAD modelling software for automotive applications is just the stepping stone to beginning your journey to automotive designing.

If you are interested in aerospace and aircrafts, then do check out our article on the best aircraft design software.

If you are interested in learning about the designing software for architecture applications, then do check out our article on the best art design software.

Interested in learning about reverse engineering, do check out our list of the top 8 best photogrammetry software.

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D printing. which publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from all around the world. Visit our 3D Printing Education page to read more such informative articles. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Manufactur3D is an Indian Online 3D Printing Media Platform that reports on the latest news, insights and analysis from the Indian and the Global 3D Printing Industry.
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