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SAO PAULO, April 25 (Reuters) - Brazil's auto production in April is likely to be similar to its output last month, the head of national automakers association Anfavea said on Monday, holding out hope of a recovery for the suffering industry by the end of the year.
Car and truck production surged in March from February, when the Carnival holiday slowed activity, but output fell 23 percent compared to March 2015, as the worst recession in decades leads carmakers to idle factories and trim payrolls.
Anfavea's new president, Antonio Megale, who also runs government affairs for Volkswagen AG in Brazil, reiterated the outlook from his predecessor that the local auto industry would recover by the end of the year.
Until last year Brazil was one of the world's five biggest auto markets and it remains an important base of operations for VW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.
Megale called on the government to loosen labor laws in order to avoid more layoffs, which have already cut jobs in the industry by more than 15 percent in two years.
"We are very concerned about maintaining the level of employment and avoiding new layoffs, because we also have a specialized workforce and it's not good to lose those professionals," Megale told journalists. (Reporting by Aluisio Alves; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)