The automotive engineering process is characterized by a long and complex design activity which starts with requirements formulation and the first sketches in the preliminary design phase and extends to the final detailed and physical models. Every design phase includes different process steps and tasks which are closely interconnected with each other. The different design stages demand Product Life Cycle (PLM) systems, which are able to handle the different kinds of design and manufacturing information. Currently the implementation of PLM systems in an industrial context is a huge challenge. The reason therefore is that the companies are not only faced with the technical issues of such systems but also with the organization aspects like the “human factor”. Furthermore the companies are faced with problems, which are not directly linked to the functionalities of PLM systems but rather to the integration or implementation phase of such systems in companies. The key research question in this case is: what are the important factors, which influence the integration and implementation of PLM systems. The following paper will try to identify these factors by means of action research in the automotive industry. This paper reports the first stages from a research programme into the implementation factors of PLM systems adopting the design research methodology (DRM) according to Blessing. The focus of this paper is to define method and systems implementation approaches and present the results of the descriptive study which has been accomplished to identify the challenges, problems and weaknesses involved in the implementation of PLM systems.