New throughout, adds new production/sales forecasts

SAO PAULO, Oct 7 (Reuters)Brazil’s auto trade group Anfavea on Wednesday published slightly less dim 2020 forecasts for Latin America’s largest car market, which has been slammed by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

Anfavea said auto production is now expected to fall 35% in 2020 from 2019, less sharp than its initial projection of a 45% drop. Sales should now fall 31% compared to an initial forecast of 40%.

Still, Brazil’s auto market will be extremely hard hit by the pandemic in a year that was initially expected to have solid growth. Brazilian auto workers are bracing for layoffs, as employment in the sector has so far remained relatively stable, in part sustained by government subsidies.

This week, a union representing General Motors GM.N workers said the automaker had launched its second buyout program since the pandemic started. Last month, a Volkswagen executive told reporters they were working hard to avoid layoffs, but did not discard them.

Anfavea, which disclosed its new forecast figures at its monthly press conference, said auto production grew 4.4% in September from the previous month to 220,162 units.

Anfavea said car sales grew 13.3% in September versus August, to 207,710 units.

(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by David Gregorio)

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