Ford, GM update production around Canadian trucker convoy

Further parts delays have impacted several automakers

Automakers impacted by the ongoing bridge blockade by Canadian truckers protesting COVID-19 mandates in the country are getting creative to keep parts moving to their production facilities, with some reportedly using air transport as a workaround.

Canadian truckers

Trucks sit idle on Interstate 75 as cars drive by on February 8, 2022, in Detroit, Michigan. Due to Canadians protesting vaccine mandates, hundreds of trucks attempting to cross the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Canada are now stuck on t (Photo by Emily Elconin/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
F FORD MOTOR CO. 12.43 -0.41 -3.19%
STLA STELLANTIS NV 14.25 -0.26 -1.79%

Industry and union sources told Reuters that Ford and other automakers have taken to moving products by air in order to keep operations moving.

Ford told FOX Business on Friday that they have teams "behind the scenes" that are "working on how to maximize production."

"All of our North American plants will run the week of Feb. 14, except Ohio Assembly Plant and Kansas City Assembly Transit production," a spokesperson said. "Some plants will operate with fewer shifts while still building vehicles, including Kentucky Truck and Chicago Assembly plants, both operating on two crews, while Dearborn Truck will run on one crew."

A General Motors representative told FOX Business on Friday, "All our production resumed this morning as scheduled, however, GM’s assembly plants in Ingersoll, Ontario and Flint, Michigan had to stop production early on 1st shift today. Production resumed on 2nd shift."

The spokesperson said there were no additional impacts on Friday, and that the company is "actively working with our suppliers to mitigate any part shortage issues."

Ford and Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, both said Thursday that the four-day standstill on the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to the city of Windsor, Ontario, will pile more problems onto an already-strained supply chain.

"This interruption on the Detroit/Windsor bridge hurts customers, auto workers, suppliers, communities and companies on both sides of the border that are already two years into parts shortages resulting from the global semiconductor issue, COVID and more," Ford told FOX Business in a statement.

"We hope this situation is resolved quickly because it could have widespread impact on all automakers in the U.S. and Canada," the company continued, noting, "We are running our plants today in Oakville and Windsor at reduced capacity."

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Stellantis, which also makes Dodge, RAM and Jeep brands, told FOX Business, "The situation at the Ambassador Bridge, combined with an already fragile supply chain, will bring further hardship to people and industries still struggling to recover form the COVID-19 pandemic."

Canadian truckers

The Ambassador bridge to Canada is closed on February 8, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. Due to Canadians protesting vaccine mandates, hundreds of trucks attempting to cross the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Canada are now stuck on the US sid (Photo by Emily Elconin/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The firm said it had some U.S. and Canadian plants forced to cut shifts on Thursday due to parts shortages caused by the bridge closure, and added, "We hope a resolution can be reached soon so our plants and our employees can return to normal operations." 

Toyota said its "teams are closely monitory the situation and working diligently to minimize the impact on production," acknowledging that its manufacturing in both Kentucky and Canada "have recently been impacted by issues related to the Ambassador Bridge blockade."

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"We expect disruptions through the weekend, and we’ll continue to make adjustments as needed," Toyota told FOX Business. "While the situation is fluid and changes frequently, we do not expect any impact to employment at this time."

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TM TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. 160.60 -0.75 -0.46%
GM GENERAL MOTORS CO. 35.23 -0.91 -2.52%

General Motors also said that it was impacted Thursday by the demonstration, saying, "We continue to work with our suppliers to mitigate issues that arise related to the border situation. However, Lansing Delta Township assembly canceled its 2nd shift yesterday and 1st shift today due to parts shortages."

Also on Thursday, the mayor of Windsor, Drew Dilkens, said during a press conference that the city would seek a court order to have the truckers removed from the bridge, and the Biden administration urged the Canadian government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step in and end the blockade.

Canadian truckers

Trucks cross the Bluewater Bridge Sarnia, Ontario, Canada on February 10, 2022. - The bridge has been forced to take almost all of the truck traffic between Ontario and Michigan after protestors blockaded the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor this week. (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Meanwhile, the protesting truckers are making their voices heard at other border crossings, blocking passage to towns opposite the line from both Montana and North Dakota

The demonstrators have also caused disruptions in several parts of Canada's capital of Ottowa for weeks, honking their horns in protest over COVID-19 diktats.

FOX Business' Grady Trimble and Suzanne O'Halloran, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.