COVID-19 Protests in Canada Force Automakers to Shutter Plants — Report

According to a report published by ABC News, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) was forced to shut down its engine plant in Windsor and reduce the hours of an assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario, on Wednesday as protesters blocked the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The protest, by people demanding the Canadian government to end COVID-19 restrictions, stopped traffic from entering Canada. The bridge, which was open to U.S.-bound traffic, is responsible for carrying a quarter of all trade between the two countries.

Ford said, “This interruption on the Detroit-Windsor bridge hurts customers, auto workers, suppliers, communities and companies on both sides of the border. We hope this situation is resolved quickly because it could have a widespread impact on all automakers in the U.S. and Canada.”

Additionally, General Motors (NYSE: GM) had to cancel the second shift at its midsize-SUV factory near Lansing, Michigan, on Wednesday due to the blockade.

On Wednesday, Scott Vazin, a Toyota (NYSE: TM) spokesman, said that parts shortages have resulted in the halt of production at the company’s three plants in Canada. The stoppage comes just two days after the blockade commenced on Monday.

Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “The blockade poses a risk to supply chains for the auto industry because the bridge is a key conduit for motor vehicles, components and parts, and delays risk disrupting auto production.”

About Ford

Michigan-based Ford manufactures and sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and luxury cars under its Lincoln brand. Popular Ford models include Fusion, Ecosport, Bronco, Explorer, Mustang Mach-E, F-150, and Ranger.

The company’s shares closed 3.6% up on Wednesday but lost 0.8% in after-hours trading to end the day at $18.20.

Wall Street’s Take

Recently, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) analyst Adam Jonas reiterated a Sell rating on the stock but raised the price target from $12 to $13 (29.2% downside potential).

The analyst said, “Ford was re-rated in 2021 on an EV/connected car strategy that resonated with investors and consumers. We wish investor expectations were better managed for execution risk as the EV plan becomes a reality.”

Overall, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 8 Buys, 7 Holds and 2 Sells. The average Ford Motor price target of $23.63 implies 28.8% upside potential. Shares have gained 99.2% over the past year.

Website Traffic

TipRanks’ Website Traffic Tool, which uses data from SEMrush Holdings (NYSE: SEMR), the world’s biggest website usage monitoring service, offers insight into Ford’s performance.

According to the tool, compared to the previous year, Ford’s website traffic has registered a 7% decline in global visits year-to-date.

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