The U.S. Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill are still underway, and thus far no definitive result has been reached. Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli has at times appeared apologetic and even regretful, but always concerned with securing additional funding for the company. The near-desperation witnessed in the hearings may be the knowledge Nardelli has of the hiring of bankruptcy law firm Jones Day, and the most likely outcome for Chrysler if the bridge loans sought aren't approved.

No comment is yet forthcoming from either the law firm or Chrysler itself, reports The Wall Street Journal, but inside sources say the hiring took place last month in preparation for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding - an almost inevitable outcome if Congress doesn't provide emergency cash by the end of the year.

While the news is not surprising - many pundits have been postulating Chrysler's demise for some time now - it is a clearer measure of the truly dire and immediate need of a capital infusion at Chrysler, and the car industry in general.

Chrysler's request to Congress, submitted earlier this week, outlined a need for $7 billion in loans before the end of 2008, with another $6 billion sought from the DOE's $25 billion retooling fund.