DETROIT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- General Motors filed for bankruptcy today, forcing the 100-year-old automaker once seen as a symbol of American economic might into a new and uncertain era of government ownership.
The filing is the third-largest in U.S. history and the largest-ever U.S. manufacturing bankruptcy.
The decision to push GM into a fast-track bankruptcy, and provide $30 billion of additional taxpayer funds to restructure the automaker is a huge gamble for the Obama presidency.
But in a sign of progress in the government's high-stakes effort, a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of substantially all of U.S. automaker Chrysler's assets to a group led by Italy's Fiat S.p.A. in an opinion filed late on Sunday.
Chrysler's bankruptcy, also financed by the U.S. Treasury, has been widely seen as a test run for the much bigger and more complex reorganization of GM.
President Barack Obama is due to speak on the auto industry shortly before noon Eastern time today. A news conference by GM CEO Fritz Henderson will follow.
GM's plan as detailed by U.S. officials is for a quick process that would allow a much smaller GM to emerge from court protection within 60 to 90 days.