The first ventilators built by General Motors are ready to be shipped to hospitals.
The automaker took less than a month to produce the first Ventec-brand ventilators after it first announced its plans to do so in mid-March. The automaker’s speedy response to the country’s ventilator supply shortage earned it recognition from the White House, with Assistant to the President, Peter Navarro, praising its efforts in a statement released Tuesday.
“GM has moved swiftly in Trump time to manufacture one of the most critical lifesaving devices in America’s war against the coronavirus,” Navarro said. “GM’s rapid mobilization of America’s manufacturing might in defense of our country is a proud salute to the ingenuity of its engineers, the true grit of its UAW workers on the line, and America’s doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals fighting for our lives at the front lines. As these lifesaving ventilators roll off GM’s assembly line as fast as tanks once did in an earlier World War, they will be rapidly deployed to the hospitals of Gary, Chicago, and far beyond.”
General Motors is building the Ventec V+ Pro ventilator machines out of its electronics components plant in Kokomo, Indiana. The machines are being built under a government contract worth $490 million that will see the automaker provide up to 30,000 of the battery-operated ventilators by late August. The automaker says “almost half the order will be filled by the end of June and the full order will be completed by the end of August,” and added that it “has the capacity to build more ventilators after August if needed.”
In a media release sent out Tuesday, GM laid out the extremely short timeline in which it was able to deliver its first ventilator machines. It first spoke with Ventec executives on Tuesday, March 17th to explore how it could help produce ventilators. By March 20th, it had already mobilized its supply chain to develop plans to source 100 percent of the necessary parts it would need to produce the ventilators. It then tapped the UAW to round up a crew of workers to prepare the Kokomo plant to produce the life-saving machines before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officially gave it the contract on April 8th, which was issued under the Defense Production Act.
In addition to ventilators, General Motors is also producing face masks at one of its plants in Michigan and recently doubled its output of the masks in an effort to address the current PPE shortage at many American hospitals.
“Thousands of men and women at GM, Ventec, our suppliers and the Kokomo community have rallied to support their neighbors and the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic,” GM CEO Mary Barra said of her company’s efforts. “Everyone wants to help turn the tide and save lives. It is inspiring and humbling to see the passion and commitment people have put into this work.”