Auditors for ailing General Motors say that there is "substantial doubt" that the car maker can continue to trade as a going concern.
The judgement by auditor Deloitte could now seriously hamper GM’s ability to extract billions more in loans from the US government.
Financial sources say Deloitte’s view could also cause problems for GM with its suppliers and banks.
GM has already said that it could go bust before Easter if it doesn’t get another tranche of the $16bn in bailout loans it is seeking this year from the US government.
Although GM could attempt to file for bankruptcy protection under the US Chapter 11 laws, sources say that the company might not even be able to obtain enough money to continue building cars while the company is reorganised.
Many in the US fear that if GM does go bust, a wave of knock-on business failures across the US will result in more than a million job losses.