The sale of most of Chrysler’s assets to Italian car maker Fiat has been approved by a federal judge, paving the way for a new, dramatically streamlined company to emerge from bankruptcy possibly this week.

Almost immediately, groups that opposed the sale and restructuring plan filed appeals.

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Judge Arthur Gonzalez sided with Chrysler executives and the Obama Administration in a ruling late Sunday that speed was of the essence if Chrysler was to maintain its value not only to ensure a decent return for the company’s investors, but also to retain the confidence of U.S. car buyers.

Barring a sale to Fiat, Chrysler almost certainly would have been liquidated and sold off piece by piece to the highest bidder.

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