This paper presents a global approach to the design of structures that experience thermomechanical fatigue loading, which has been applied successfully in the case of cast--iron exhaust manifolds. After a presentation of the design context in the automotive industry, the important hypotheses and choices of this approach, based on a thermal 3D computation, an elastoviscoplastic constitutive law and the dissipated energy per cycle as a damage indicator associated with a failure criterion, are first pointed out. Two particular aspects are described in more detail: the viscoplastic constitutive models, which permit a finite element analysis of complex structures and the fatigue criterion based on the dissipated energy per cycle. The FEM results associated with this damage indicator permit the construction of a design curve independent of temperature; an agreement is observed between the predicted durability and the results of isothermal as well as non isothermal tests on specimens and thermomechanical fatigue tests on real components on an engine bench. These results show that thermomechanical fatigue design of complex structures can be performed in an industrial context.