Auto industry lost nearly $300M in wages, production from weeklong Canadian protest

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click to enlarge Protesters impeded traffic at the Ambassador Bridge for a week. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Protesters impeded traffic at the Ambassador Bridge for a week.

The weeklong protest that shut down the Ambassador Bridge cost the auto industry nearly $300 million, according to an economic research group.

Anderson Economic Group estimates that the "Freedom Convoy," prompted by Canada’s vaccine border mandates, resulted in $144.9 million in lost wages, predominantly from plants in Michigan and Ontario.

Automakers lost an additional $155 million, according to the estimates.

“Within hours of the trade disruption at the Ambassador and Blue Water bridges, we observed shortages and then slowdowns at assembly plants,” said Patrick Anderson, Anderson Economic Group’s Principal and CEO. “Only some of that lost production can be made up given the tightness of the auto industry’s supply chain right now, so these are real losses to the men and women working in this industry.”

The blockade, which was broken up by Canadian police over the weekend, disrupted already depleted supply chains and forced some automakers to cut shifts and shut down plants in Canada, Michigan, Kentucky, Alabama, and Ohio.

Anderson added automakers and dealers lost an untold amount of money from prospective car owners.

“Many of the cars that weren’t produced during the past ten days will not go to the customers that would have bought them, as those customers are already headed elsewhere or are simply going to go without a new car at this time,” Anderson said.

About 10,000 commercial vehicles hauling an estimated $325 million use the bridge daily, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury. About $50 million is from auto parts.

The bridge reopened late Sunday.

Anderson says there’s no guarantee that another protest won't impede production again.

“We hope the Mayor of Windsor is correct that the bridges will now stay open,” Anderson said. “However, the political crisis within Canada is not yet over, and it is possible that disruptions will continue.”

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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