Automakers are starting to feel the consequences of the ongoing protests in Canada that are blocking a major border crossing. Truckers protesting Canadian COVID mandates have blockaded the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor for the third day, and it’s forcing automakers to curtail production or cancel shifts as the industry faces a multitude of compounding challenges.
According to the Detroit Free Press, General Motors had to cancel three shifts at its Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant – one last night and two today – due to parts shortages caused by the blockade. The factory builds the Buick Enclave and the Chevy Traverse, and production is scheduled to resume tomorrow.
Gallery: 2021 Chevrolet Traverse
GM spokesperson Dan Flores told the publication that the automaker was working to mitigate any impacts to its operations. GM has also rerouted some shipments around the border crossing to keep its Flint Assembly plant operating, where it builds the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. However, by Thursday, GM had to cancel the operating shift.
GM’s rival Ford is also suffering, though it hasn’t canceled any shifts yet. It told Free Press that it is operating two facilities – Oakville and Windsor – at a reduced schedule. It builds the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus in Canada and engines for the F-150 and Mustang.
Stellantis hasn’t been spared either, cutting production in both Canada and the US, which affected the production of the Chrysler Pacifica and the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator. Toyota is also experiencing production hiccups, and it told the Free Press that it was monitoring the situation.
The border blockade is just that latest headache for an industry that has faced several hurdles since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Automakers continue to suffer from supply chain issues, particularly chips for critical software systems, and the latest delays won’t help fill dealer inventory when showroom lots are already bare.