Polish presidential candidate Jaroslaw Kaczynski has urged the country’s government to intervene against moves by Fiat to transfer assembly of its Panda model to Italy.

The Italian carmaker is expected to transfer assembly of the model from its plant in Tychy, southern Poland, to Poligliano in Italy.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s election, Kaczynski said: “This factory is of great benefit, it’s a good business and there’s no economic reason for the transfer.”

He added that the decision to move the assembly line “was not taken for economic reasons allowed in the European Union, but was politically motivated under pressure from the Italian government and prime mininster Silvio Berlusconi.

“If I am elected president I will intervene in this type of affair,” he told the Polish PAP news agency.

Earlier this week, Poland’s economy ministry said Fiat had promised to maintain the current number of jobs at its Tychy plant despite moving production of the Panda city car to Italy.

Solidarity trade unionists at the Tychy plant also said they were reassured by company’s promise.

Fiat is investing EUR700m (US$842m) to launch production of the Panda in Pomigliano, on the condition that Italian trade unions review current agreements at the factory in order to make them more competitive.

Fiat Poland plans to launch a new line at Tychy to produce engines and ready an assembly line for the Lancia Ypsilon.

Tychy produced 606,000 vehicles last year, including nearly 300,000 Pandas.