Fiat is third in the Opel acquisition sweepstakes

After having bagged a beleaguered Chrysler, Fiat, which is now eyeing General Motor's German auto unit Opel to create a new force in European auto, is reported to be among the final three bidders'.

GM is seeking an investor for Opel and its other European brands as it moves toward a 1 June US government deadline to complete restructuring talks with stakeholders. (See: GM threatens to sell majority stake in Opel: report).

Three bidders have submitted their proposals to the German government on Wednesday.

Fiat has more than a 50-per cent chance of pulling off its bid for Opel," Italian daily La Stampa on Thursday cited Sergio Marchionne as saying.

The others in the race are Canadian-Austrian car parts group Magna International and Brussel-based industrial holding group RHJ International.

However, German magazine Spiegel Online said Fiat was at the bottom of a list of three contenders, citing what it described as an internal GM ranking list of the bids.

According to Der Spiegel report, GM had reservations about Fiat because the Italian industrial group was a partner of its US rival, Chrysler. Magna is at the top of GM's list, ahead of RHJ International.