Every performance car, MPV and large saloon on sale today is under threat from proposed legislation limiting CO2 emissions to an average of 120g/km by 2012, CAR Online has learned.
EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas is expected to announce the shock new directive in the next few days - it's designed to force companies to meet tough targets or face big fines.
CAR Online has uncovered details of the proposals before they are published. Brussels wants to launch tough new laws because car companies will miss the industry's voluntary target of averaging 140g/km by next year. The average CO2 output in the UK today is around 170g/km.
Under Dimas's proposals, which would have to be ratified by the EU before they became law, manufacturers would be fined if they failed to meet the lower emissions averages - potentially sending some manufacturers to the wall.
A spokesman at the SMMT, which represents the UK motor industry, said it would lobby hard against the new rules. 'This is basically limiting buyers' choice of cars in the showroom - and also threatens UK manufacturers like Jaguar and Land Rover, whose larger cars have higher CO2.'
One or two car companies, such as Fiat, have already hit the 140g/km voluntary average, but the vast majority are set to miss next year's target. The cost of making every new car meet a compulsory CO2 target of 120g/km would be around £3000 per car, analysts estimate.