General Motors will mass-produce more than 10,000 ventilators per month as it ramps up efforts to help health authorities combat the deadly coronavirus in the US.
The US car giant has formed a partnership with medical supplier Ventec Life Systems to manufacture “critical care” ventilators.
Part of a General Motors facility in Indiana – that specialises in automotive electrical components – has been repurposed for the health emergency.
A statement issued by General Motors said it is expected to distribute the first ventilators to hospitals and health care providers as early as next week.
“Retooling is underway and we are poised to deliver the first ventilators next month with capacity of more than 10,000 month,” the statement from General Motors said.
The General Motors effort is in addition to Ventec ramping up production at its manufacturing facility in Washington.
“Across all (medical suppliers), there is a global backorder of critical care ventilators capable of supporting patients fighting COVID-19,” the statement from General Motors said.
“The companies are adding thousands of units of new capacity with a significantly expanded supply chain capable of supporting high-volume production,” the statement continued.
General Motors said it is contributing its resources at cost.
The US car giant will also begin manufacturing “Level 1” surgical masks at its Warren, Michigan manufacturing facility.
“Production will begin next week and within two weeks ramp up to 50,000 masks per day, with the potential to increase to 100,000 per day,” the statement from General Motors said.
“This pandemic is unprecedented and so is this response, with incredible support from General Motors and their suppliers,” said Chris Kiple, CEO of Ventec Life Systems, in a media statement.
“We are proud to stand with other American companies and our skilled employees to meet the needs of this global pandemic,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO.
“Our joint teams have moved mountains to find real solutions to save lives and fight the pandemic,” Ms Barra said, adding that both companies were in the position to help build more ventilators because of the “remarkable performance” of the global supply base for both companies.
As part of its contribution, General Motors will deploy an estimated 1000 workers to the facility making ventilators, including rehiring some former employees.
The General Motors facility in Kokomo Indiana currently manufactures precision electrical components and covers an area of approximately 240,000 square metres and is located on a 110 hectare site.