Feb 10, 2022 - Economy

Canada trucker protests hurting auto industry

U.S. vehicle sales
Data: FactSet; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Just as American auto manufacturers showed signs of momentum in beating back supply chain snarls, Canadian anti-vaccine protesters are blocking a key connection to Detroit.

Driving the news: The convoy of Canadian truckers that shut down Ottawa recently to protest vaccination requirements and public health measures closed a key bridge connecting Canada to the U.S. for a fourth day Thursday.

Why it matters: The Ambassador Bridge — which connects Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit — carries 25% of all trade between the two countries, according to the AP.

Context: The chaos along the typically placid border comes just as the American auto industry — which depends on suppliers and producers in both countries — starts to shake-off supply chain-related woes.

  • Ford and Toyota have already halted some production.
  • After crashing at the end of 2021, the pace of car sales jumped in January, rising to an annualized pace of more than 15.5 million.

Disorderly Canadian truckers aside, the pipeline of sedans and pickups has been filling up fast. Inventory data released Wednesday showed the largest rise in U.S. wholesale car inventories in a decade — a good sign for those hoping to see car prices decline.

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