Dacia and Daimler could be hit the hardest.

The CO2 regulations imposed on auto manufacturers by the European Union have led to improbable creations like the Aston Martin Cygnet.

For automakers who are having a difficult time complying with the norms, the light at the end of the tunnel just got further away: the EU has announced that the regulations are going to get tougher as part of an effort to cut CO2 emissions by 20% in 2015.

Starting on January 1st, 2012, 65% of the total amount of cars sold annually in Europe by each automaker will need to have a CO2 output that doesn't exceed 130 grams per kilometer. It is worth noting that only manufacturers who build over 10,000 cars a year are affected by the law.

Automakers who for whatever reason can't comply with those norms will have to pay a fine of 5‚,¨ ($6.50) per gram that each car is over, which could add up to millions over the course of a year.

Renault-owned Dacia is one of the brands that is expected to have a hefty fine to pay at the end of 2012, but one of the hardest-hit automakers could end up being Daimler. It has had a hard time lowering its cars' CO2 emissions and when the new norms come into effect, it could face a fine of 1,900‚,¨ (almost $2,500) per car.

Small car manufacturers are not expected to have any difficulty in complying with the new norms. In 2011, two thirds of Peugeot and Citro√ęn's cars did not exceed 119 grams per kilometer, Fiat has an average of 115 grams, and Toyota is at 112 grams.

The CO2 regulations were controversial when they were passed in 2007, but lawmakers claim that they have been successful. In 2006, the average new car sold in Europe emitted 161 grams per kilometer; that figure has dropped to 137 in 2011.

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2.'L'Union Européenne...' view