Detroit's Big Three have been told to prove their have a "viable recovery plan” in order to get a $25bn (£17bn) bail-out from the US government.
General Motors, Chrysler and Ford have been given until December 2 to present plans. The leaders of both houses of Congress have said there will no money unless the companies can show that it will make a significant difference.
GM has already said it will run out of cash next year if it does not receive help.
Some analysts believe Chapter 11 bankruptcy would finally force GM to adopt a lean, efficient structure.
However others, and the chief executives of the three carmakers, claim that millions of jobs will be lost if they do not receive state help.