Automakers working to help the American people.
We're in an unprecedented situation as the coronavirus spreads throughout the world at a frightening pace. All industries have been hit hard, but the automotive industry seems to be one of the hardest hit, with factories shutting doors left right and center. Ferrari has shut down, Ford has halted production, and even high-end manufacturers like Rolls-Royce have had to stop operations temporarily.
While it may seem all doom and gloom, this situation has brought about a new potential use for these factories, as, according to reports, the White House has approached both General Motors and Ford to see if they can help produce medical equipment to fight COVID-19. That's right, the ventilators that could save your life if you become infected could be produced in the same factory as your Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Colorado.
Mary Barra, GM's CEO, has spoken to Larry Kudlow - the economic advisor for the White House - about the possibility of assisting with ventilators after GM suspended production until the end of March at all its North American facilities. A spokesperson for GM has said that the manufacturer is trying to help find solutions to help the nation and is already studying the viability of medical equipment production.
Likewise, Ford is on board, stating that it's ready to help the current government administration in any way it can, including the production of medical equipment. Like GM, Ford has been in contact with the government and is currently discussing options.
It's not necessarily a straightforward process as producing medical equipment is a very detailed task and one with no margin for error. However, Larry Kudlow has been full of praise, speaking highly of the 'can-do spirit' of major corporations wanting to assist.
The move in the US follows a similar move in Britain, where Ford, Honda, and Rolls-Royce have all been asked to assist in similar tasks. This wouldn't be the first time Ford and GM produced something other than cars as in the past the brands have produced planes and military equipment. This time, however, it's a crisis of a different kind, and it's great to see automakers playing their part.