The agreement follows talks between the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) and 21 manufacturers, following growing complaints from ACFO members about supply problems. The problem has also become 'measurably worse' in the past 18 months, members say.
A survey of 700 fleets by ACFO uncovered one case where a company car was off the road for 250 days longer than expected because of a manufacturer's spare parts problems.
At the meeting, vehicle manufacturers agreed to take steps to end the problem that has plagued many fleets for years through a three-point strategy for action created by ACFO.
Firstly, all manufacturers at the meeting will receive the results of the ACFO survey on spare parts supply, detailing their own parts supply performance measured against unnamed rivals.
Secondly an ACFO 'guide to the spare parts maze' will give fleet decision-makers a step-by-step guide to dealing with supply problems. Thirdly, manufacturers will be asked to sign-up to a code of conduct to be compiled by ACFO that it will give to the fleet industry.
The new code will lay down a minimum set of standards governing the supply of spare parts by manufacturers and steps, such as payment for car hire, they will agree to take in the event of delays. ACFO said car companies were aware of the parts delay issue, but they had not related the problem to the practical impact on fleet operations and costs until the meeting.
Similarly, ACFO claimed suppliers had ignored the impact on relationships that delays were having between fleet decision-makers and company car drivers, along with the dealers and accident repair workshops they use.
ACFO director and membership secretary Stewart Whyte said: 'Most manufacturers were represented by their fleet directors or senior fleet department employees and senior parts department staff which underlined how seriously they view our concerns surrounding the poor supply of spare parts.
'It was a pro-active debate and not an exercise in 'naming and shaming'. We hope the action plan will result in significant improvements and that all manufacturers will sign-up to the code of conduct, which will encourage them to put even more effort into resolving the problem.'
Manufacturers represented at the meeting were: Audi, BMW, Citroen, DaimlerChrysler/ Mercedes-Benz, Fiat/Alfa Romeo, Ford, Honda, Mazda, MG Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Saab, SEAT, Skoda, Toyota, Vauxhall, Volkswagen.