Trump faced a Saturday deadline to make a decision on recommendations by the Commerce Department to protect the U.S. auto industry from imports on national security grounds.
Trump directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pursue negotiations and report back within 180 days. He has said that some imported cars and trucks have weakened the U.S. economy and threaten to harm national security.
The auto tariffs face strong opposition in Congress including from many prominent Republicans.
Reuters and other new outlets reported earlier this week that Trump was expected to delay the decision.
Automakers have strongly opposed the tariffs, saying they would hike prices and threaten thousands of U.S. jobs.
Reporting by David Shepardson.