Detroit carmakers turn to making medical supplies amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 6:35 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 23:21:26-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit’s Big 3 automakers are answering the call for help during the Coronavirus crisis. They are teaming up with suppliers and smaller companies that are already in the business of making much-needed ventilators and surgical masks.

Marick Masters is a Wayne State University Professor.

He tells 7 Action News the Big 3 are helping build President Trump’s war machine saying “the war analogy is an appropriate one. Detroit, after all, was the arsenal of Democracy. And to some extent we’re the arsenal of recovery today.”

General Motors is teaming up with Ventec Life Systems. Ventec says in a statement, “By tapping their expertise, GM is enabling us to get more ventilators to more hospitals much faster. This partnership will help save lives.”

The two companies are coordinating through, which has a stated mission, “We're calling on the private sector to significantly commit financially to meet the threat of COVID-19.”

GM is also working with suppliers. Meridian Lightweight Technologies with offices in Plymouth and around the world is also working to get components for ventilators.

Fiat Chrysler says it will be making surgical masks at a plant in China with a goal of one million a month for the United States.

Most but not all Big 3 US operations are shut down or people are working remotely.

Ford has not announced its plans to make medical supplies publicly.

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