Ronald Reagan proposed a four-point economic recovery program yesterday in Los Angeles, keying his plan to an auto industry rebound and saying the U.S. auto industry needs "protection from Washington," not from the Japanese.

His program proposes a moratorium on future auto industry regulation, new tax breaks to encourage retooling for production of smaller cars and repeal of federal gasoline allocation rules.

Reagan's statement, coming as Republican delegates arrived in Detroit prepared to nominate him as the GOP presidential candidate, also urged a repeal of the president's authority to impose credit controls.

Carter flew into Detroit last Tuesday to unveil his auto aid package. It proposed some regulatory relief, tax reductions similar in concept to Reagan's, loan programs for dealers and speeded up consideration of a complaint against the Japanese.

Carter did not seek import quotas on the foreign cars that are grabbing an ever-larger share of the American market. Such a dramatic move is sought by many in the auto industry, reeling from a prolonged sales downturn.

Reagan said he opposed institution of quotas, explaining:

"By inducing retaliation by our trading partners, quotas could deprive American auto workers of valuable foreign markets, and reduce, rather than increase, demand for American made cars."