A generic template system is presented in this paper. The template, which is basically a management system and an integration platform, adopts virtual prototyping, cross-functional teaming and information integration to improve the performance of product development life cycle. The architecture and working principles of the template are discussed. This architecture provides a collaborative environment for product development aiming at integrating people, process and data in the complete product development cycle. Also, a new integration strategy, that adopts PDM as its universal integration platform, is proposed and realized. This strategy reduces the requirements of integrating a software module (or “a virtual model”) into the template to only the development of the interface between this module and the PDM. In addition, the generic template contains methods and mechanisms to create and maintain virtual prototyping models for different engineering products and engineering systems that involve mechanical as well as electrical components (e.g. a power train). Currently, the template includes sufficient models to accurately and reliably model, simulate and evaluate complete engineering systems. Some of these models do not exist in the current state-of-the-art commercial CAD/CAE/CAM/PDM systems.