By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), General Motors Co (GM.N), Ford Motor (F.N) and Chrysler-parent Stellantis (STLA.MI) said they had been forced to cancel or scale back some production at North American plants on Thursday because of parts shortages stemming from Canadian trucker protests against pandemic mandates.
The truckers, who oppose a vaccinate-or-quarantine requirement for cross-border drivers, have used their big rigs to snarl traffic at the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario – which accounts for about 25% of U.S.-Canadian trade.
The shortages affected Toyota’s production of the RAV4 – the best-selling non-truck vehicle in the United States, Camry, Avalon, Lexus RX and Lexus ES, the automaker said.
Stellantis said some U.S. and Canadian plants cut short shifts on Thursday after many shortened shifts Wednesday night “due to parts shortages caused by the closure of the Detroit/Windsor bridge.”
The largest U.S. automaker said it had canceled a shift on Wednesday and two shifts Thursday at its Lansing Delta Township plant.
Shilpan Amin, GM’s vice president for global purchasing and supply chain, told suppliers on Thursday in a message seen by Reuters that “although we may have intermittent stoppages, we intend to keep production running and meet current schedules at all of our manufacturing operations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.”
The company added it was “encouraging suppliers to evaluate alternative options in order to sustain your operations to meet our production schedules.”
Honda said its Alliston, Ontario plant temporarily suspended manufacturing on one production line Wednesday evening due to border delays but was back online.
Stellantis said 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 from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We hope a resolution can be reached soon so our plants and our employees can return to normal operations,” Stellantis added.
The White House said Wednesday it was talking to automakers, Canada and customs officials to try avoid disruptions to auto production.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday called on Canada to reopen the Ambassador Bridge, as did U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell and Dan Kildee.
“It is imperative that Canadian local, provincial, and national governments de-escalate this economic blockade,” Whitmer said. “They must take all necessary and appropriate steps to immediately and safely reopen traffic.”