Fiat SpA is convinced it has more than a 50 percent chance of
succeeding in its bid for Opel because it does not think the other
contenders have the expertise to revive the car maker, an Italian
newspaper said.

But General Motors Corp ,
which is selling Opel, has Fiat at the bottom of a list of three
contenders, German magazine Der Spiegel said in its online edition,
citing what it described as an internal GM ranking list of the bids.

At the top is Magna International , a Canadian-Austrian car parts group that also submitted an offer in Germany at Wednesday's deadline, it said.

Magna is joined by GAZ , Russia's second biggest car maker, which confirmed it would act as its industrial partner.

unidentified GM insiders, Der Spiegel said GM had reservations about
Fiat because the Italian industrial group was a partner of its U.S.
rival, Chrysler LLC.

Fiat wants to merge its car business with
Opel in an ambitious plan to create the world's second biggest group
after Toyota Motor Co <7203.T>. Its bid includes GM's British
brand, Vauxhall, but not Saab, which is being sold separately.

is selling Opel and its other European brands as it hurries to complete
a restructuring ahead of a June 1 deadline set by the U.S. government,
which is helping it out with loans.

GM will consult the German
government before choosing the winning bid because Opel, which is based
in Germany, will likely get billions of euros in financing from the

Fiat Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo told
reporters a decision would not take long, with a source close to the
Italian group later telling Reuters it could take up to 10 days to get
an initial indication.

German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung said Opel's unions had prepared an emergency rescue plan in
case none of the bidders had a winning concept.

The third contender on the list is RHJ International , an industrial holding group based in Brussels.


to members of the Agnelli family at a private meeting on Wednesday,
Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne expressed confidence in the
success of the group's bid.

Fiat has more than a 50 percent chance of pulling off its bid for Opel, he was quoted as saying by La Stampa newspaper.

The Agnellis founded Fiat more than 100 years ago and still hold a controlling stake in it. They also own La Stampa.

the end of the day, our's is the only offer that has real content and
makes industrial sense, he said. The others either do not have
productive clout or are basically financial: and we have seen with
Cerberus , the investment fund that controlled Chrysler, just how weak such solutions can be.

a U.S. private equity firm, is desperate to get out of Chrysler after
losing billions of dollars on its investment in the bankrupt U.S. car
maker. It bought a majority stake in it from Germany's Daimler AG before a crisis struck the car industry last year.

days before expressing an interest in Opel in early May, Fiat formed a
partnership with Chrysler that could see it replace Cerberus as
majority shareholder in the U.S. car maker.

La Stampa said Marchionne understood the German unions favored Magna for fear that Fiat could shut down plants.

the unions like them (the other contenders) because they reckon they
can have an influence over certain managers who are expert only in
finance and not in industry, he said.

Citing unidentified sources involved in the negotiations, German
daily Frankfurter Rundschau said Marchionne was ready to guarantee the
existence of all Opel plants for the time being.

In the meantime, Fiat was pushing elsewhere.

China, a difficult market for Fiat, it planned to form a joint venture
with Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group to make cars, according to the
Shanghai Securities News.