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How Ford, GM And Chrysler Are Producing A New Arsenal To Help Fight COVID-19

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How Ford, GM And Chrysler Are Producing A New Arsenal To Help Fight COVID-19

Automakers across the nation are complying with state lockdowns, but their factories aren’t sitting idle. With the blessing of the Trump Administration, previously non-essential operations have been repurposed to produce critical items in the COVID-19 fight.

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Ford

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) has initiated production of respirators, ventilators and face shields to relieve the strained healthcare system.

As of March 24, it had entered collaborations to redesign and scale production of 3M Co's (NYSE: MMM) Powered Air-Purifying Respirator for first responders and health care workers; to accelerate production of General Electric Company's (NYSE: GE) ventilator for patients; and to assemble more than 100,000 face shields per week with the help of the UAW. It has also begun 3D printing disposable respirators.

"This is such a critical time for America and the world,” executive chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. “It is a time for action and cooperation. By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front lines of this crisis.”

GM

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) has partnered with Ventec Life Systems to increase the latter’s ventilator production capacity.

"By tapping their expertise, GM is enabling us to get more ventilators to more hospitals much faster,” Ventec CEO Chris Kiple said in a press release. “This partnership will help save lives."

According to Crain’s, GM’s parts suppliers are crafting components for more than 200,000 ventilators.

FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU) began to retool its factories March 23 to address the face-mask shortage for health professionals and first responders. It expects to begin manufacturing in the next few weeks and to donate more than 1 million protective masks per month, starting with deliveries in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Its face-mask contribution is just one of many. FCA began to contribute on the ventilator front last week in a partnership with Ferrari in Italy.

“This action is the first of a multifaceted global program being developed by the company through applying manufacturing, supply chain and engineering expertise to support the global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic,” it said in a press release.

Tesla

When California went into lockdown last week, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) shuttered vehicle production at its Fremont factory and began to meet with medical equipment manufacturer Medtronic PLC (NYSE: MDT) to plan for ventilator production.

As of March 24, it had already delivered 1,000 ventilators to California hospitals. CEO Elon Musk estimated Tesla would produce 1,200 by the end of the week.

"Getting them delivered, installed and operating is the harder part," he tweeted, assuring that "there will not be a shortage by the time we can make enough to matter."

Tesla is also helping to direct existing supply toward U.S. hospitals with the greatest need.

"China had an oversupply, so we bought 1255 FDA-approved ResMed, Philips & Medtronic ventilators on Friday night & airshipped them to LA," Musk tweeted. "If you want a free ventilator installed, please let us know!"

 

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