General Motors Corp.'s strategy of buying equity shares in numerous global automakers to obtain technical expertise and market share appears to be paying off big — at least for its main product development software supplier.

UGS, the former Unigraphics Solutions, which provides CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) products, announced earlier this year that a number of GM's Asian partners were adopting its software. Last month, UGS announced a big contract with Fiat Auto SpA, another GM alliance partner. Fiat Auto signed a five-year agreement with UGS that includes 500 seats of the company's Unigraphics CAD/CAM/CAE application for digital product development, 600 licenses of software for Web-based visualization and collaboration in the design and manufacturing stages and numerous other licenses and applications.

UGS not only will implement its technologies with Fiat Auto and its powertrain operations — now in a full-scale European/Latin America joint venture with GM — but also across the automaker's entire supply chain. DaimlerChrysler AG and many other European automakers use CATIA digital product development software. Ford Motor Co. uses software by yet another company which likes to be known as an acronym: SDRC.