Meltdown, Michigan - Ford, GM and Chrysler have all filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 following their failed attempts to lobby congress for a carve-out of $25 billion from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout fund.
"There's no way we could keep going even until Christmas without the bailout," admitted Ford CEO Henry Edsel Ranger, Esq between sips of Perrier Jouet's Belle Epoque champagne in the Senate private cocktail bar. "So we decided to fall on our swords right in the Senate hearing room and be done with it."
General Motors CEO Silverado Hummer agreed. "Yes, it was the right thing to do for everybody concerned, especially our workers. The most that $25 billion would have done is to keep us on life support for a couple of months. Better to pull the plug."
Mr Hummer snickered, "We pulled the plug on the electric car some time ago and no one even noticed its passing, so what?"
Mr Hummer's concentration strayed as a waiter passed by with a tray of raw Yaquina Bay Olympia oysters on the half-shell, and he inquired whether they were in season and flown in fresh. "But of course," replied the waiter as Mr Hummer helped himself to several dozen.
Chrysler CEO PT Cruiser explained that he had no option but to follow the lead of his fellow Big 3 colleagues. "I just can't get over the nerve of this congress, turning us down like that, after we flew all the way down here in our private jets on such short notice. The crew didn't even have time to stock up on anything for the flight. I'm famished. That Japanese kobe wagyu beef slab with wasabi butter looks good. Look, there's Mitt Romney. Ignore him."
However grim things might seem in Detroit at the moment, there are some indications that the American auto industry may yet be thrown a lifeline.
Anonymous sources have leaked information that the Big 3 are to be replaced by the Little 3. Die-cast miniature giants, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and Dinky/Tonka are poised to profit from the liquidation sales of Ford, GM and Chrysler.
Hot Wheels CEO Midge Ferrari, revealed that his company had been eyeing Detroit for some time. "Our Hot Wheels are selling like Hot Cakes. We've got no cash flow problems and our customers are fanatically loyal to our brand. And with prices from $35 to $350, who couldn't afford to own a Hot Wheels car, even in a recession?"
"The die is cast," proclaimed Matchbox CEO Morgan Aeromax. "We've got 100 Matchbox cars all lined up and ready to go, from vintage nostalgia to futuristic adventure models. Our customers are already sold on the idea of downsizing their vehicles, so we should be in line for huge government subsidies as well."
Dinky/Tonka CEO Mighty Dump pointed out that his corporation would allow Americans to still fuel their truck fetish with their scale models. "Not only will we provide die-cast models, but we'll also market build-your-own customized kits. Americans can own as many trucks as they want from here on in."
"And soon they will find that pushing them around with their hands and admiring them on display shelves is more fun than actually driving them," explained Mr Dump.
The Little 3 automakers claim that they can quickly and easily retool assembly plants in Michigan for their smaller models. "It's just a matter of scale," explained Hot Wheels CEO Midge Ferrari. "1/95, 1/64, 1/24, just do the maths and you'll see it's great value for money."
"Plus the fact that we're all owned by Mattel," added Matchbox CEO Morgan Aeromax. "That will cut down our management overhead by two-thirds right there compared to the Big 3 and will make sales and distribution a breeze."
"Don't forget that we've built up generations of brand loyalty, something the Big 3 totally squandered with their 3 year built-in obsolescence nonsense," chipped in Dinky/Tonka CEO Mighty Dump. "We won't make that mistake."
"And we're not going to be so stupid as to be isolated from the rest of the automotive world in Detroit as the Big 3 were," asserted Mr Dump. "We've already started negotiations with die-cast giants Yat Ming and Real Toy in Hong Kong to revolutionize the auto industry in China before they get themselves into the same mess over there."
"This is a great day for Detroit and for America," cheered the Little 3 CEOs in unison. "This calls for a party. Someone pass the glue."