Frequently asked Questions - FAQ

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The exchange of data or information between companies in the automotive industry is one of the definitive challenges of the industry. A simple and fast participation of the automotive industry in the data economy of the vehicle industry will secure its competitiveness and shape the transformation according to the requirements of climate change.

Catena-X stands for the vision of an continous data exchange for all participants in the automotive value chain. The Catena-X Automotive Network will create a common standard for the secure exchange of data and information between companies in the automotive industry.

The cloud-based network will be open to automotive companies, regardless of size, as well as their partners, users and suppliers. The open community approach ensures a common business benefit for all participants: Based on interoperable data streams, companies can, for example, track, measure and control their carbon footprint or trace components as they move through the supply chain.   

Catena is the Latin word for chain. The X symbolizes the entire network of partners. Together, the name stands for network between partners in the automotive value chain.  

The creation of the Catena-X Automotive Network was initiated in 2020 by a number of pioneering companies and first publicly announced at the German government's Digital Summit in December 2020. The pioneer companies include: BMW AG, Mercedes Benz AG, Deutsche Telekom AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, SAP SE, Siemens AG and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.   

In order to create a legally secure organizational form and to realize the set goals, the association Catena-X Automotive Network e.V. was founded on 07.05.2021. The founding organizations are: BMW AG, Mercedes Benz AG, Deutsche Telekom AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, SAP SE, Siemens AG and ZF Friedrichshafen AG. Volkswagen AG, BASF SE, the German Edge Cloud GmbH, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. and the Verband der Automobilindustrie VDA.  

The constitution of a development consortium Catena-X marks another milestone on the way to the foundation. The consortium consists of 28 companies and will be funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the "Future Investments in the Automotive Industry" funding program ( (LINK to the question What development projects are currently on offer?).  

Catena-X is an overall concept consisting of three independent organizational elements: the association Catena-X Automotive Network e.V., a development area and a planned operating environment. The association Catena-X Automotive Network e.V. is the coordination element of Catena-X and forms the organizational bracket for all activities around Catena-X.  

Association: The association structure Catena-X Automotive Network e.V. bundles the activities around the elaboration, promotion and maintenance of common foundations and standards for the data ecosystem.The association coordinates, as far as possible, the development work and initiates appropriate initiatives. With regard to operations, the association takes on an orchestration role by defining rules and certification criteria for operators and future services.  

Development area: In the development area, the actual development work is done in the form of the elaboration of various candidate standards. Members of the association (possibly together with other third parties) form cooperations, consortia or projects outside the association and take on various development tasks with the aim of developing one or more candidate standards.  

Operating environment:The operation of the Catena-X network is implemented by different operators in different roles. The goal is a decentralized, federated operator model. The rules will be defined by the association. A specific operating company will have to fulfill certain criteria to be able to fulfill this role. Currently, no operating company has been certified yet.

The development of the Catena-X ecosystem is taking place in a coordinated approach between the creation of the prerequisite and the actual development/programming and operation of the ecosystem. The following is an illustration of the key steps from the Catena-X Association creating the optimum conditions for the data ecosystem. 

Phase 1: Creating the foundations for the data ecosystem  

The first step is to create the prerequisites for the data ecosystem. This includes the technological prerequisites as well as the necessary institutional framework. In the Catena-X Automotive Network e.V., the exchange on common foundations (standards and governance instruments) is initiated. This includes the exchange with Gaia-X, which ensures that the Catena-X applications adhere to the Gaia-X specifications of data sovereignty and transparency for the users. Important results of this phase are efficient organizational structures in the association, the establishment of interfaces to the development area as well as the processes that ensure that Catena-X standards and Catena-X certificates can be created in compliance with antitrust law.   

Phase 2: Standardization. Certification and establishment of operations  

Catena-X is based on open source principles and opens up the possibility for all users to establish further services and business models. In the Catena-X Automotive Network e.V. the necessary standards for data exchange are created and the operation of the platform is prepared. For this purpose, a standardization processwas set up, in which association members and interested companies can submit candidates for standards for the Catena-X ecosystem.  

The Catena-X Automotive Network continues to lay the groundwork for decentralized operations by establishing criteria for potential operating companies.   

Phase 3: Scaling and international growth  

The data ecosystem is expected to gain worldwide acceptance and establish itself globally. Membership in the Catena-X Automotive Network is open to companies and organizations worldwide that share Catena-X values and principles. Through a growing network of regional hubs, contact points will be created step by step and a network of internationally active multipliers will be established.   

The use of the data ecosystem is open to all companies in the automotive value chain - from SMEs to corporations. The goal is to establish a globally operating network based on European values. A first operational system is to be launched in the course of 2022.  

The use of the Catena-X data ecosystem, as soon as it is available, is possible independent of a membership in the Catena-X Automotive Network e.V..  

A membership in Catena-X benefits companies that want to actively participate in shaping the future data ecosystem. The association puts a special focus on the development of the standards that will be necessary for overarching data exchange. It creates the basis for the use of central

Membership in Catena-X benefits companies that want to actively participate in shaping the future data ecosystem. The association places a special focus on the development of the standards that will be necessary for overarching data exchange. It creates the basis for the use of central services (shared services) as well as for operating companies, which are deployed along defined criteria via certification.

Through the association, additional development projects will be created to continuously develop the core services (OSS) and to undertake further use cases or the development of additional services.  

The members of the association have access to information and know-how around the collaborative use of data and can build up their own competencies in this area. The cooperation with scientific and research institutions is part of the association's purpose as well as the development of international cooperations and hubs. Information about membership in the association can be found here.

Catena-X is growing day by day. The current number of members can be found here.

The Catena-X data ecosystem links providers and users and is open to any size of company. Small and medium-sized enterprises will benefit within Catena-X especially by the opportunity to participate in digital value creation. The development of 'SME-ready' solutions will be a major goal of the work of the first development consortium. In the design, the consortium emphasizes simple connectivity and digital enablement of SMEs with low investment requirements.  At the same time, the providers develop solutions based on the requirements of all players in the automotive value chain and scale and offer them in a market-based competition.   

SMEs are welcome to join the Catena-X Automotive Network. The benefits of membership in the association range from active participation in the creation of necessary framework conditions and direct involvement in relevant standardization discussions to the exchange of operator solutions and sparring partners for the validation of services. 

The vision of the Catena-X ecosystem is closely linked to that of Gaia-X. Gaia-X describes the standards and requirements for a federated and sovereign data infrastructure that ensures secure and trusted data exchange. The Catena-X and Gaia-X collaboration is built on shared values: Transparency, Data Sovereignty, Openness and Trust.

The collaboration includes aspects such as the alignment of technical architectures and standards, the development, testing and integration of reference services in the data space, and the harmonization of onboarding and certification services. With architectural alignment and joint definition of requirements for technological solutions for trust and transparency, Catena-X is compliant with the launch of the first Catena-X services by an operating company Gaia-X.


On August 1, 2021, a first consortium in the development area started under the title "Konsortium Catena-X". A total of 28 companies are being funded as a development consortia by the "Future Investments in the Vehicle Industry" funding program ( from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. The companies have joined forces independently of the association to develop the first standard candidates. Specifically, the consortium is working on the development of so-called shared services that enable secure and self-determined access to the data ecosystem.  Along ten use cases, the consortia is also developing solutions with which companies can quickly derive concrete added value for their production or service. These ideas will be submitted as standard candidates via the Catena-X Automotive Network e.V. association.  All members of the consortium are also members of the association Catena-X Automotive Network e.V..

Participating companies and organizations in the Catena-X consortia are:

  •     Arena 2036 e.V
  •     BASF SE
  •     Bayrische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft
  •     BigchainDB GmbH
  •     CCT Composite Coating Services GmbH
  • Research and Development GmbH
  •     Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research e.V.
  •     GEC German Edge Cloud GmbH & Co.KG
  •     Gris Forming Technology GmbH
  •     Henkel AG & Co.KGaA
  •     ISTOS GmbH
  •     LRP Autorecycling Leipzig GmbH
  •     Mercedes Benz AG
  •     MiPart GmbH
  •     Robert Bosch GmbH
  •     SAP SE
  •     Schaeffler Technology AG & Co.KG
  •     Siemens AG
  •     SupplyOn AG
  •     Tec4U
  •     Trumpf GmbH & Co.KG
  •     T-System International GmbH
  •     Up2parts GmbH
  •     German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)
  •     Volkswagen AG
  •     ZF Friedrichshafen AG

The establishment of further development consortia is welcomed.


The following use cases are planned as part of the implementation of the Catena-X Automotive Network e.V.:

  •     Traceability  
  •     Sustainability and CO2 footprint
  •     Circular economy  
  •     Quality improvement
  •     Demand and capacity management
  •     Business partner data management
  •     Online control and simulation  
  •     Modular production  
  •     Manufacturing as a Service  
  •     Data and model-centric development and operations support (Digital Behaviour Twin)