This paper describes a web-enabled repository system that has been designed for supporting distributed automotive component development. The repository is based on an integrated product and process life-cycle information model, derived from ISO standards and using EPISTLE generic entity modelling principles. This core model can be used with reference data libraries, such as for activities, components, documents and properties. The scope and characteristics of the model are described, along with its relation to standard product data models and classification schemes. Component design and analysis representational models are referenced as resources through document meta-data, with virtual access via the repository. The modelling approach is compatible with the current development of ontologies and topic maps for the Semantic Web, with an inter-operability route via the Resource Description Framework (RDF). The paper also provides an outline of the system architecture, the associated Web tools and the Business Object library for building client-server applications. An industrial application for fatigue studies is described, illustrating comparison of analysis and test data, repository search and provision of best practice advice. The aim is to produce a flexible system that can be populated and extended directly by engineers, shielding them from the details of the information model. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.