Led by ACEA president and Volkswagen chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder, it included Fiat chief executive Giuseppe Morchio, Ford of Europe chief executive Nick Scheele, Renault chief executive Louis Schweitzer and Volvo chief executive Leif Johansson.
They met EU Commission president Romano Prodi (pictured right), vice-president Loyola De Palacio (Transport), EU Commissioners Erkki Liikanen (Enterprise) and Philippe Busquin (Research).
The ACEA said: 'The CEOs addressed the industry's growing concern over a deterioration of prerequisites of European competitiveness, of which the automotive sector is one of the key contributors. Clearly, the overall economic environment will remain extremely challenging.
'However, at the same time, European car manufacturers are faced in their home market with additional 'framework' difficulties. These include the increasingly dense, complex and often conflicting set of regulations weighing on the industry, which typically increase the costs of doing business in Europe.
'This is often compounded by a lack of the market acceptance and return on investment for many new technologies deriving from EU requirements. At international level, the discrepancies in motor vehicle regulations and the existence of barriers to trade hinder the development of a true level-playing field with competitors,' it added.
The delegation urged the Commission to step up its efforts to shape a strong and effective industrial policy for Europe.