General Motors has cleared a major hurdle to get out of bankruptcy quickly, as U.S. Judge Robert Gerbe has finally given the automaker the go-ahead to sell off its best assets to a newly formed company that analysts have been calling "New GM". The new GM will include assets like the Chevrolet and Cadillac brands, plus plants and production facilities that haven't scheduled for closure. The old GM will consist of soon-to-be shuttered plants, the Pontiac brand and mountains of debt and liabilities.

Judge Gerbe gave the go-ahead on Sunday because he felt not doing so would cause "immediate and irreparable harm" to the 100-year-old company. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Treasury Department was threatening to cut off funding to GM if the sale didn't go through by July 10. Hundreds of GM's debtors requested that the sale be rejected, but Judge Gerbe's ruling likely means that the affected parties won't see much, if any money owed.

GM entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 1, and if New GM actually does emerge from bankruptcy this week, the fourth largest bankruptcy in this country's history will have been completed inside of just six weeks. The timeframe is very similar to that of the much smaller Chrysler, which needed only 42 days to exit bankruptcy.

[Source: Detroit Free Press, Photo by Hiroko Masuike/Getty]