Automakers Shift Gears Into Medical Equipment Production

Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are among the automakers who have halted automobile production and are now lending a hand to produce urgently needed medical equipment and supplies. 

Consumers have indicated in multiple studies that they respond positively to companies that put time and money into altruistic endeavors. So while these moves are not marketing per se, they are likely to be met with positive reactions from current and potential customers.

Ford is is lending its manufacturing and engineering expertise to companies that build respirators and ventilators. A new respirator could be produced in a Ford facility by UAW workers. 

Ford and 3M teams are taking parts like fans from the Ford F-150’s cooled seats for airflow and 3M HEPA air filters to filter airborne contaminants such as droplets that carry virus particles. They are also donating portable tool battery packs to power respirators for up to eight hours.



Ford also plans to assemble more than 100,000 face shields per week, and leverage its in-house 3D printing capability to produce components for use in personal protective equipment.

GM and Ventec Life Systems, in cooperation with, the nation's coordinated private sector response to the COVID-19, are collaborating to enable Ventec to increase production of its respiratory care products. Ventec will leverage GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise.

The automaker says it is looking into reconfiguring its production facility in Kokomo, Indiana to build the much-needed ventilator equipment.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to manufacture and donate more than 1 million protective face masks per month. Production capacity is being installed this week and the company will start manufacturing face masks in the coming weeks, with initial distribution across the United States, Canada and Mexico. 

The face masks are to be donated by FCA to police, EMTs and firefighters, as well as to workers in hospitals and health care clinics.

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 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired 1,200 ventilators from China and shipped them to the U.S. for distribution to hospitals in need during the health crisis.


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