General Motors may start to produce ventilators and other medical supplies in an effort to help combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Company CEO Mary Barra met with the Trump administration this week to discuss how the automaker may be able to contribute to the government’s efforts to treat the coronavirus and prevent the spread of the disease.
“GM is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and offer to help and we are already studying how we can potentially support production of medical equipment like ventilators,” GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said in a prepared statement this week.
National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow also met with representatives from the Big Three this week to discuss the matter. While he did not name Barra specifically, he referred to one of the automotive executives he spoke with as “she” – likely referring to Barra. Kudlow said the unnamed executive was looking at calling employees back to work to produce medical supplies – potentially without pay.
“One of them told me that, even while the men and women may be off for two weeks due to the virus, she’s going to try and call them back so they can produce ventilators,” Kudlow said. “They might even ask them to do it on a voluntary basis for civic and patriotic reasons.”
It is understood that GM has no concrete plans to produce ventilators or medical supplies at this time. It is actively analyzing the situation, however, and may step up if the coronavirus situation worsens in the United States.
Ford has also said it is looking at using both its American and British plant space to produce medical supplies.
“Ford stands ready to help the administration in any way we can, including the possibility of producing ventilators and other equipment,” said Ford spokeswoman Rachel McLeery. “We have had preliminary discussions with the U.S. and U.K. governments and are looking into the feasibility. It’s vital we all pull together to help the country weather this crisis and come out the other side stronger than ever.”
GM, Ford and FCA were forced to shutter their U.S. manufacturing facilities this week due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As a result, GM stock tumbled to $14.32 per share, though it had rebounded slightly to $16.94 per share as of this writing.
Source: The Detroit News