General Motors has announced it will produce up to 9 million face masks at a manufacturing facility in the Mexican state of Toluca as part of its efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
GM will begin producing the Level 1 surgical masks later this month and will distribute a portion of them to public hospitals located in Mexico City and the San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato and Coahuila states, where the company currently has various manufacturing and business operations. The rest of the masks will be used by GM employees and its local distributors.
“For General Motors, it has been a priority to support the communities that need it most during the almost 85 years we have been in Mexico,” said GM de Mexico President and CEO, Francisco Garza, in a translated statement. “For this reason, we are very interested in contributing to the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic in our country and in supporting first-line doctors and nurses whom we recognize for their great effort to save lives in the face of pressing circumstances.”
“I am very proud of the group of employees who decided to participate to support us in this work, we are guaranteeing them maximum hygiene care to prevent any risk of contagion,” Garza added.
The face masks will be built in a facility that normally manufactures GM’s turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder engine, which is used in the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, among other vehicles. About 1.5 million of the masks will roll off the line monthly over a 6 month period, it says.
GM says it is also looking at manufacturing other types of masks with greater protection than the Level 1 masks at the facility. It is currently searching for additional raw material to do this, however, which is in short supply as the world scrambles to get frontline healthcare workers the proper PPE.
GM is also making millions of face masks for American hospitals and its American workers at a facility in Michigan as part of its COVID-19 efforts. It was given a $490 million contract to produce ventilator machines at a facility in Indiana this month, as well, which began shipping to hospitals this week.