Carmakers join global effort against novel coronavirus

As the COVID-19 crisis deepens in Europe and the U.S., automakers join global effort to build ventilators and masks. Carmakers shift to production of medical equipment and supplies following shutdown of vehicle assembly in numerous factories across Europe and North America.

What American Automakers Are Making Medical Supplies?

COVID-19 Pandemic: As factories shut down, automakers team up to build ventilators and masks
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Ford Motor Co. is among the first to join these efforts. The American company said on Tuesday it was partnering with 3M and GE Healthcare to produce medical supplies, including ventilators and marks, for health care workers that fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Ford will manufacture a simplified version of GE’s ventilator design, which deliver air to infected patients suffering from respiratory issues. Ford is also helping 3M boost production of its own Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) by using fans from the F-150’s cooled seats and portable tool battery packs. Additionally, Ford will assemble more than 100,000 plastic face shields per week using its in-house 3D printing capability.

COVID-19 Pandemic: As factories shut down, automakers team up to build ventilators and masks
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FCA is joining in by manufacturing and donating more than one million masks per month to police, firefighters, and workers in hospitals and clinics.

The company will distribute masks across the United States, Canada, and Mexico at first. As for General Motors, the group said it will work with Ventec Life System to increase production of its respiratory equipment by giving it access to its "logistics, purchasing, and manufacturing expertise."

Ford, FCA, and GM aren’t the only major companies working to reduce the impact of COVID-19. Fiat already began converting one of its plants in China to start making one million masks a month, while Tesla is working on its own ventilators. In the U.K., Nissan and several Formula One teams have joined the effort.

Major Shutdown of Automotive Plants

What Automakers Are Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
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Last week, several automakers announced that they closed off plants across Europe. Ferrari and Lamborghini put their entire production on halt, while Fiat closed off four facilities in Italy. Ford also shut down a factory in Spain, while PSA stopped production in France, Spain, Germany, England, Poland, and Portugal. Renault closed off 12 sites in France, while Toyota did the same in Portugal and France.

More shutdowns were announced in the United States after the United Auto Workers Union pressured GM, Ford, and FCA to join the lockdown. In addition, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan announced they will idle their North American facilities. Volkswagen joined in and closed its only U.S. factory, located in Chattanooga, on March 21.

COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly

As of March 24, there are 409,014 confirmed cases globally, with most reported in China (81,591), Italy (69,176), and the United States (50,206). The death toll reached 18,246, with 6,820 deaths in Italy, 3,160 in China, and 2,800 in Spain. As of this writing, 106,593 patients have recovered from the virus.

Country,Other TotalCases NewCases TotalDeaths NewDeaths TotalRecovered ActiveCases Serious,Critical Tot Cases/1M pop Tot Deaths/1M pop
China 81,171 +78 3,277 +7 73,159 4,735 1,573 56 2
Italy 69,176 +5,249 6,820 +743 8,326 54,030 3,393 1,144 113
USA 51,737 +8,003 667 +114 368 50,702 1,175 156 2
Spain 39,676 +4,540 2,800 +489 3,794 33,082 2,355 849 60
Germany 32,781 +3,725 156 +33 3,243 29,382 23 391 2
Iran 24,811 +1,762 1,934 +122 8,913 13,964 295 23
France 22,304 +2,448 1,100 +240 3,281 17,923 2,516 342 17
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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