Members of the European Parliament voted to delay the introduction of elements of the new car distribution block exemption rules until 2005, and tabled a series of amendments to the proposed new regulation.
The non-binding vote casts doubt on the September 30, 2002 deadline for introducing new rules to govern the relationship between car manufacturers and their dealers within the European Union.
The European Commission has proposed major reforms to the current rules to enhance competition in the new car market and facilitate cross-border trade. The EC also wants to see keener competition in the service and maintenance aftersales market.
MEPs, however, want to delay until 2005 rules that would allow dealers to advertise outside their exclusive sales territories.
EC competition commissioner Mario Monti said he would not accept this amendment, but the ACEA said it showed the European Parliament understood the problems facing manufacturers.
Jean-Martin Folz, president of the ACEA, said: 'The outcome of the vote, which is advisory and not binding on the Commission demonstrates that the Members of the European Parliament have understood the potential negative consequences of some of the provisions of this proposal for 200 million European motorists.
They have listened to the numerous reasoned opinions coming from many stakeholders, including the automotive sector.'
Ivan Hodac, secretary-general of the ACEA, said: 'We are ready to work with the Commission services and other parties concerned to make sure that the new regulation is balanced and takes into consideration the interests of consumers, manufacturers, dealers and repairers.'
One of ACEA's main concerns is that the Commission takes a fresh look at tax differentials between countries, which it blames for the wide variation in prices between different EU countries.