Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's summons to the heart of the Italian government tomorrow (12 February) has been prompted by job loss fears should the automaker decide to move its headquarters to the US.

Last week Marchionne made comments that Fiat could potentially transfer its HQ to America following any merger with Chrysler, but the suggestion has rung loud alarm bells in Italy and with its government.

A gaggle of Italy's most powerful politicians including prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, labour minister Maurizio Sacconi and cabinet under-secretary Gianni Letta, have called Marchionne to the Cabinet offices of Palazzo Chigi in Rome for urgent talks concerning his comments.

"There is some concern about the possibility [of Fiat] going - the unions are very worried - it will be a problem for Italy," a spokeswoman for the Italian economic development ministry in Rome told just-auto.

"Italy [is] a country based on the automotive [industry] and it will be very problematic for jobs."

The Economic Development Ministry also noted Marchionne had driven some particularly hard bargaining with Fiat's unions during the past 12 months, most notably at the Pomigliano d'Arco and Mirafiori plants, giving the impression the manufacturer would stay in Italy.

The productivity deals pitted union against union in a bitter and protracted dispute that saw the hardline FIOM labour body constantly at loggerheads with its employers and fellow worker representatives.

"Now we discover after one month he [Marchionne] is going to change his ideas, so it is a bit strange," added the Ministry spokeswoman. "So now, the government wants to understand how Marchionne really thinks what is going to happen."

Despite the spokeswoman's comments about union job fears, it appears no labour bodies have been invited to the Palazzo Chigi tomorrow, although the moderate FIM representatives say they would prefer to meet Fiat next week.