The New York Times is reporting Chrysler's expected to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday, most likely in New York. And that's when Fiat swoops in for the kill like an Italian bird of prey.

The automaker, which is in talks with the Italian automaker Fiat, would file for bankruptcy first. It subsequently would present an agreement with Fiat to the court for approval, possibly on Monday.

This comes, despite President Obama's prime-time press briefing at the White House on Wednesday, claiming it was "not yet clear" Chrysler would have to move forward with a bankruptcy. "I am actually very hopeful, more hopeful than I was 30 days ago, that we can see a resolution that maintains a viable Chrysler automobile company out there." Yeah, we'll have to wait and see on that, won't we? [NYT]