COVID-19

How carmakers around the world are churning out ventilators and masks to help fight coronavirus

An employee works at a car body production line of the electric Volkswagen model ID.3 in Zwickau, Germany, February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel - RC2Q7F9GRA1U

Volkswagen is one of the companies offering their expertise. Image: REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

Paul Lienert
Correspondent, Reuters
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COVID-19

  • Carmakers and manufactures have joined the fight against coronavirus.
  • They've ramped up production of vital healthcare produce and machines.

Auto companies and suppliers around the world are ramping up production of critical healthcare products and machines - everything from cloth face masks to sophisticated ventilator systems - to meet a critical shortage of those items at hospitals and care facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.

Here is a look at what some companies have announced.

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General Motors

General Motors Co said it will partner with Washington-based Ventec Life Systems to make ventilators at GM’s Kokomo, Indiana, electrical components plant as soon as April, at the rate of 10,000 a month, up to 200,000 units. GM also will make surgical masks at its Warren, Michigan, facility, starting in early April and ramping up to 50,000 masks a day, with the ability to double that.

Ford Motor

Ford Motor Co said it would partner with GE Healthcare to expand production of GE’s ventilators, while developing a simplified design that Ford could build at one of its plants. Ford also said it will work with 3M Co to increase production of 3M’s respirators, while also developing a simpler model to be built in a Ford plant. The automaker said it may make face shields for first responders to use with N95 respirator masks at an undisclosed Michigan plant, at a rate of up to 100,000 a week.

Toyota Motor

Toyota Motor Corp said it is finalizing deals with at least two companies to help increase production of ventilators and respirators. It expects to begin mass-producing 3D-printed face shields next week, and is seeking partners to make filters for face masks.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it will begin making more than 1 million face masks a month, to be distributed initially to first responders and healthcare workers in North America.

coronavirus covid19 covid-19 pandemic country stastistics
Global confirmed coronavirus cases Image: Statista

Tesla

Tesla Inc said it would reopen its Buffalo, New York, solar panel plant to produce Medtronic ventilators. The company also said it bought 1,255 ventilators in China and is distributing them in North America.

BYD

China’s BYD Co said it had opened the world’s largest face mask plant in China, making 5 million masks a day, plus 300,000 bottles of disinfectant.

SAIC Motor

The joint venture between SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, GM and Wuling is converting one of its China plants to make face masks and is building additional machines to increase mask production.

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GAC Motor

GAC is converting one of its China plants to make face masks.

Volkswagen Group

Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) said it is testing 3D printers to make parts for ventilators.

Mahindra

Mahindra CIE Automotive Ltd said it is working with a ventilator manufacturer in India to help simplify the design and scale up production, including at some Mahindra plants.

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