10 Best Car Design Software & Apps You Must Know In 2023

As a beginner, I think you are trying different automotive design software to design a perfect car.

What Is Automobile Designing?

Automobile design is the process of creating the design and functionality of a vehicle. In design, it includes exteriors, interiors, chassis, and mechanicals. A designer starts from the initial sketch to the final product.

Let’s understand the different stages of Automobile designing:

  • Concept: A concept car is preliminary on sketches and ideas for the vehicle’s look and features.
  • Styling: Once concept and understanding are aligned, the designer creates detailed, 3D renders of the vehicle. A 3D render of a vehicle is based on aerodynamics, ergonomics, and overall aesthetics.
  • Engineering or Mechanical: This is the most important and expensive part of the design. Mechanical design includes engine, powertrain, suspension, chassis, performance, safety, and reliability parameters.
  • Prototype: A physical model is created for testing and evaluation.
  • Testing: The final designed vehicle goes under different tests – road, crash, and emissions.
  • Production: Post all tests & procedures, a final design is used to produce vehicles on a scale.

For the design process, car design software such as Catia, Autodesk, etc. plays an important role.

World’s automotive industry is not new to advance or 3D software. There are different apps and softwares in the market that allows you to learn automotive design for fun and make a career out of it.

Down below is the list of paid and free softwares, I suggest checking all requirements before finalising any of them.

Before that, we need to ask the following questions:

  • What’s the purpose of the tool and the problem you need to solve?
  • Team strength? How many people are going to use this software?
  • What is the option? Either free or paid
  • Software flexibility
  • Software documentation or tutorials
  • Cost? How much money you or your company is looking to invest?

List Of Software Used By Different Automobile Brands

BrandsSoftware Used
ToyotaCatia, PTC, Rhino
GMSiemens, Catia
VolkswagenSolidworks, Rhino, Blender
FordCatia, PTC
HyundaiSiemens, Catia
PSASolidworks, Rhino
HondaCatia, PTC, Rhino
NissanSiemens, Catia, Rhino
FiatCatia, Siemens
SuzukiCatia, PTC, Rhino
RenaultSolidworks, Rhino, Blender
DaimlerSiemens, Catia
BMWSiemens, Catia, Rhino
MAZDACatia, PTC, Rhino
ChryslerSiemens, Catia

List Of Best Car Design Software In 2023

  1. Catia
  2. Siemens NX
  3. Creo Parametric
  4. Rhino
  5. Autodesk Alias
  6. Blender
  7. Solidworks 3D CAD
  8. Autodesk Inventor
  9. Adobe Illustrator
  10. Adobe Photoshop

1. Catia

Catia logo
Catia Logo

Catia (developed by Dassault SystemesWorld’s top-rated automobile software company) is the one-stop destination for product design and experience in the market. This professional 3D multi-platform software is widely used by automobile companies to design & simulate flow as well as structural strength.

Catia is used by big brands such as BMW, Porsche, Daimler Chrysler, Audi, Volkswagen, Bentley Motors Limited, Volvo, Fiat, Toyota, Ford, Scania, Hyundai, Škoda Auto, Tata Motors, and Mahindra & Mahindra Limited.

Other Details:

  • Backs up several stages of product development including concepts, designs, and manufacturing.
  • Newbies and experienced users both can use this software for the best 3D experience and also enhance their creative efficiency.
  • From surface designing to chassis integration, coding, and manufacturing of the product, Catia offers all-inclusive solutions for each phase.
  • It has an activity dashboard, CAD tools, collaboration tools, data visualization, design management & manufacturing design data.
Van Design

Software Requirements:

  • Size: 10 GB or higher
  • RAM requirement: 4GB, although 8GB is recommended
  • OS: Windows & macOS
  • Type: CAD software
  • Application type: Web only

2. Siemens NX

Siemens NX Logo
Siemens NX Logo

Siemens NX, also known as “Unigraphics” is a powerful CAD/CAM/CAE software that is widely used in the automotive industry for car and spare parts design.

The initial software was launched in 1973, October and since then it has received different updates to meet all requirements (last updated on December 2022).

Like Catia, NCX provides a comprehensive suite of tools for modeling, simulation, and analysis of complex engineering problems. With its intuitive, multi-language, and user-friendly interface, Siemens NX enables car designers to create and refine their designs with accuracy and precision.

The software supports a wide range of design processes, including surface modeling, sheet metal design, and visualization, allowing users to create and manipulate complex shapes and forms with ease.

Additionally, Siemens NX has powerful simulation capabilities that enable designers to analyse and test their designs in real-world conditions, ensuring that their cars meet all performance and safety requirements.

Siemens NX is a popular choice among car designers who are looking for a comprehensive, yet easy-to-use, design software solution.

Other Details:

  • Flexible and powerful integrated solutions.
  • Multiple combinations of 2D & 3D, solid modeling, curve and surface design, parametric feature-based modeling, template-based design, modular design, subdivision modeling, and direct modeling functions.

Software Requirements:

  • Size: 2GB & 10 to 5.5 GB for NX 12
  • RAM requirement: 4GB RAM, 8GB or 16GB RAM recommended
  • OS: Windows & macOS
  • Type: CAD/CAM/CAE software
  • Application type: Web only

3. Creo Parametric

Creo Parametric Logo
Creo Parametric Logo

Creo Parametric is a top-notch 3D modeling software for automotive & industrial design. The software comes with many extensions where you can view, analyse and share your designs using 2D CAD and 3D CAD software. You can check out this software with a free trial.

Other Details:

  • Creo Parametric helps developers with their innovative creations by providing them with a platform where they can explore more complex functions.
  • You get access to modern technologies like augmented reality, generative design, real-time simulation, and others which help you to assemble better designs.
  • It is easy to use and the rapid simulation helps the user to find out any happening faults or errors.
  • Creo Parametric also offers an easy-to-use interface.

I’ve also listed software used in Skoolie design & Vanspae 3D rivals. You should check this drag-and-drop software. In addition, you can also check car wrap softwares to explore before trying it in reality.

Software Requirements:

  • Size: 2 GB
  • RAM requirement: Min 4GB is required
  • OS: Windows
  • Type: CAD, CAM, CAE & PLM
  • Application type: Web only

4. Rhino

Rhino Logo
Rhino Logo

Launched in 2020, Rhino 3D is one of the fastest-growing & affordable 3D CAD software available in the market. Compared to other Autodesk softwares, Rhino comes at 30% of the cost and provides the same value to design an automotive solution or any other product.

Rhino is another widely used designing software that can create, design, analyse, and perform other complex tasks done by engineers.

It is compatible with CAE, CAD, CAM, and other various animation products. Below is the list of files supported without any plugin:

DWG/DXF (AutoCAD 200x, 14, 13, and 12)FBXAI
IGESX_T (Parasolid, export only)RIB
SAT (ACIS, export only)STLVRML
MicroStation DGNSLCCSV (export properties and hydrostatics)
Direct X (X file format)OBJBMP
Uncompressed TIFFGHSKML

Following CAD file formats supported via external plugins.

3DPDFCATIA V6Parasolid
CATIA V4InventorCreo Parametric
CATIA V5Siemens NXSolid Edge

Rhino 7 is the updated version of the software.

Van Design

Other Info:

  • The software allows you to design anything with accuracy.
  • It is user-friendly and doesn’t demand different hardware for smooth use.
  • There are almost 50 different and easy-to-use creation tools to make the designing process easier.
  • You can edit and transform your documented designs with several editing tools.
  • 2D and 3D designs can be made for better comparison and high-quality outcomes.
  • Faster than other CAD softwares.
  • Modern creation tools.

Software Details:

  • Size: 600 MB for Windows and 5 GB for Mac
  • RAM requirement: 8GB or more is recommended
  • OS: Windows & macOS
  • Type: CAD software
  • Application type: Web only

5. Autodesk Alias

Autodesk Alias Logo
Autodesk Alias Logo

Alias is a design software by Autodesk which is largely used in the automotive designing sector for creating high-quality desirable products – especially in product modeling, surfacing, and visualization.

It offers seamlessly collaborate across different workflows and disciplines, which increases productivity and eliminates any issues.

This Autodesk Alias concept offers 3 plans:

  • $13775 for 3 years
  • $4591/paid annually
  • $630/paid monthly

You can book a free trial too.

Other Info:

  • Design and edit your automobile concepts with integrated tools.
  • Transform 2D sketches of your automotive design into 3D objects to check their performance.
  • More helpful features like product visualization, design communication, Class-A surfacing, and others are added to the software.
  • Faster design decisions with automated workflows.
  • You get options to pick from – Alias Concept, Surface & AutoStudio.
  • Trusted by famous automobile brands such as KISKA, Mazda, etc.

Software Details:

  • Size: 5 – 10 GB
  • RAM requirement: 8 GB (16 GB recommended)
  • OS: Windows & macOS
  • Type: CAD software
  • Application type: Web only

6. Blender

Blender Logo
Blender Logo

Blender is the best free 3D CG technology and software in the world. In addition, the brand follows a mission to get the world’s best 3D CG technology.

It can be used for the first level designing and as it is an open software it’s a great help for new users and freelancers. The software supports the designing of complex geometrics and that’s why it is widely used for automotive design.

The 1st software version was released in January 1994. So far, Blender has released 10 versions – 3.4, 3.3 LTS, 3.2, 3.1, 3.0, 2.93 LTS, 2.92, 2.91, 2.90 & 2.83 LTS.

Blender is used by various Indian & USA automobile brands – Tata Motors, BMW, Suzuki, etc.

Other Info:

  • You can design, create and customize realistic 3D projects.
  • The creations can be animated to have a better view.
  • Blender offers rendering, modeling, sculpting, animation/rigging, VFX, simulation, pipeline, video editing, etc.

Software Details:

  • Size: 193–305 MiB (varies by the operating system)
  • RAM requirement
  • OS: Linux, macOS, Windows, BSD
  • Type: 3D computer graphics software
  • Application type: Web only

7. Solidworks 3D CAD

Solidworks 3D CAD Logo
Solidworks 3D CAD Logo

Solidworks 3D CAD is another perfect application launched by Dassault Systemes. The brand offers different products for design and analysis such as:

  • Design and engineering
  • Management
  • Manufacturing
  • Production
  • 3D Experience

Automotive designers use 3D CAD versions to create 3D models and provide realistic views of the products. It is considered one of the best user-friendly software for car designing as it is easy to operate and offers the right set of tools to match the creative side of automotive designing.

Other Details:

  • The final designs can be analyzed and animated to check how the actual product works. The products are also visualized to check if further modification is required.
  • The CAD software offers multiple tools and higher accuracy for better analysis processes and fast manufacturing.
  • Specified drawings can be made with low fault chances and the designs can be documented for later purposes.
  • Sketching, drawing, animation, documentation, assembly, and storage are some of the few modules supported by Solidworks for a better experience.
  • A perfect tool to design and create mechanical parts such as engines, suspensions, etc.

Software Requirements:

  • Size: 3.36 GB of higher
  • RAM requirement: 8 GB is required, but 16 is recommended
  • OS: Windows & macOS
  • Type: CAD software
  • Application type: Web only

8. Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk Inventor Logo
Autodesk Inventor Logo

Inventor is one of the most powerful 3D CAD software on the list.

Thanks to the professional-grade simulation, parametric, direct, freeform, and rules-based design capabilities. Autodesk lets you create automotive/mechanical ideas into reality.

This software offers top-notch mechanical design capabilities at affordable pricing.

  • $4993 for 3 years
  • $1664/paid annually
  • $227/paid monthly


  • A complete set of designs and tools are already included in the software for purposes like frame design, cable harness, simulation, etc.
  • The 3D modeling and powerful simulation help you enhance your presentation.
  • Inventor itself systemizes
  • the common task for saving time and reducing effort.
  • With Inventor, you can work with different types of customers and collect their feedback too.
  • The manufacturing collection consists of Fusion360, AutoCAD, Inventor Tolerance Analysis, Inventor Nastran, and more.
  • Enjoy a free version of Inventor and then make a decision.

Software Requirements:

  • Size: 32 GB or higher
  • RAM requirement: 16 is recommended
  • OS: Windows & macOS
  • Type: CAD software
  • Application type: Web only

9. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator Logo
Adobe Illustrator Logo

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best and most widely used design software. It was launched by Adobe on March 19, 1987, and so far, it has been updated several times.

You can use Illustrator to design various kinds of graphics – especially in automotive interiors.

The online web-based tool or app allows newbies too to have a better experience in designing. It includes many updated tools which can reduce your efforts while creating illusive sketches.

You can get a one-week free trial which includes all the features.

Van Design

Other Info:

  • Turn a photograph into a colored sketch or turn a sketched diagram into a vector image with Illustrator.
  • With Illustrator, you can create an image and then later export it to Photoshop or any other app with the help of Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • With the help of vector graphics, the images can be enlarged or minimized without any decrease in resolution.
  • Illustrator can save different types of file formats like PDF, EPS, WMF, etc.

Software Details:

  • Size: 1.3 – 1.75 GB
  • RAM requirement: 4 GB RAM (8 GB RAM or higher recommended)
  • OS: Windows & macOS
  • Type: Vector graphics software
  • Application type: Web & Mobile app

10. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop Logo
Adobe Photoshop Logo

Adobe Photoshop is another great widely used software for digital art and graphic designs. The designing and editing process is made flexible with powerful editing tools integrated with Adobe Photoshop.

Many automobile designers use Photoshop for basic layouts, banners, and other activities.

Adobe Photoshop provides step-by-step guides for beginners to make the learning process more comprehensive.

You can get a 7-day trial of Photoshop.

Other Info:

  • It supports different formats for photos, videos, and documents so you can create and customize automobile graphics in numerous layers.
  • Add various effects and swap the backgrounds in seconds to give the design the look you want.
  • Blend the graphics in Photoshop to test new designs.
  • Photoshop has brushes, preset filters, and layers to accelerate retouching. You also get tons of options for automotive designing.

Software Details:

  • Size: 600–1.13 GB
  • OS: macOS, Windows, iPadOS & Android
  • Type: Graphic software (SAAS)
  • Application type: Web & app

List Of Automotive Companies Using Catia/Pro-E

  • Toyota
  • Ford
  • Volkswagen/Audi
  • Hyundai
  • Honda
  • Renault
  • BMW
  • Mitsubishi
  • CEVT
  • Volvo

List Of Automotive Companies Using Siemens NX

  • Daimler Mercedes
  • Nissan
  • Fiat
  • Chrysler
  • Mazda
  • Suzuki
  • General Motors
  • Volvo Aero
  • Ducati

List Of Automotive Companies Using PTC Creo

  • Tafe
  • Caterpillar
  • Baker Engineering Inc, Us
  • Stanley
  • Stanmore Implants Us
  • Satyam engineering services
  • Renault
  • Essential Engineering Solutions
  • Altech Star Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
  • Infosys
  • Revo Trading Co . Ltd., – Japan
  • Mahindra Engineering Services Ltd.
  • Creston Electronics
  • Custom Fire Apparatus
  • Finelite, Inc
  • HoMedics
  • HS Design, Inc.
  • Otto Bock Healthcare
  • ITW GSE Group
  • AAR Corp.
  • Rolls-Royce North America
  • URS Corporation
  • General Atomics
  • Cosmos Manufacturing, Inc
  • Custom Sensors & Technologies


Car designing software ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Let’s go through them in a small description.

Catia is known for its advanced features and is widely used in the automotive industry. Solidworks 3D CAD is a popular choice for mechanical design, while Creo Parametric is known for its product design capabilities.

Autodesk Inventor is suitable for both mechanical and electrical design, whereas Alias is a premium solution for advanced automotive styling and surface modeling.

On the other hand, Rhino 3D is a versatile program that is good for both modeling/rendering and it comes at a pretty affordable price.

Finally, Blender is a free and open-source program that is gaining popularity among car designers due to its advanced 3D modeling and animation capabilities.

Each of these software has its strengths and weaknesses. I recommend giving a try few of them and checking if that syncs with your design/business requirements.

Written by Shailesh Thakran

Hi, I am a Marketing professional. I help Organizations/Startups in Structural, Design and Content Marketing to become online entities. I love blogging, mainly about automobiles, travel trailers & everything related to wheels. With the help of Thorttlebias, I want to educate and share in-depth articles/tips for other RVers. Outside of work, I love to read & play with my Rottweiler. Guess what! We can be friends, below are my social profiles.

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