STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Ford, GM and Tesla may make ventilators to combat coronavirus

In a move reminiscent of the World Wars, when America's car factories shifted to producing tanks, bombers and aircraft engines, some US automakers are lookin...

Posted: Mar 19, 2020 2:57 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2020 5:45 PM

In a move reminiscent of the World Wars, when America's car factories shifted to producing tanks, bombers and aircraft engines, some US automakers are looking into making ventilators and other medical equipment to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.

A shortage of ventilators has become a growing concern as the number of reported infections increase across the United States. In the most serious cases, coronavirus patients lose the ability to breathe on their own and require a ventilator, which pumps air in and out of the lungs.

'As America's largest producer of vehicles and top employer of autoworkers, Ford stands ready to help the administration in any way we can, including the possibility of producing ventilators and other equipment,' Ford said in a statement Wednesday night. 'We have had preliminary discussions with the US government and are looking into the feasibility.'

GM also said that it is looking into whether it could produce medical equipment, including ventilators. GM spokesperson Jeannine Ginivan said CEO Mary Barra had been in touch with the White House regarding the possibility. 'GM is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and has offered to help,' Ginivan said

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has also weighed in. After being pressed on the matter by Twitter users, Musk, who has expressed skepticism over the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis, responded: 'We will make ventilators if there is a shortage.'

New York City mayor Bill DiBlasio tweeted that the city could use Tesla's help with getting more of the devices.

Musk replied, saying his company would connect with the mayor's team to 'understand potential needs.'

Ford and GM have shut down auto production at plants in North America over concerns about the spread of coronavirus. An expected drop in demand for new cars and trucks was also a factor in their decisions.

Tesla, meanwhile, has kept its factory in Fremont, California, running despite a shelter-in-place order in that area.

In the United Kingdom, aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce and vacuum maker Dyson have also been approached about making ventilators to address shortages there.

In total, GM and Ford have 83 factories that are temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus crisis.

Beyond their sheer manufacturing real estate, these huge automakers can also command legions of supplier companies that make plastic and metal parts and electronic components, said Kristin Dziczek, an industry analyst with the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan. They also offer invaluable expertise in working through complex manufacturing and logistical problems.

'There's a whole range of needs we're going to have that the manufacturing might of the automakers could be brought to bear on,' she said.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2387008

Reported Deaths: 55028
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings31854810735
Queens30563110146
Suffolk2276353517
Nassau2067113252
Bronx2018546691
New York1615874604
Westchester1407802328
Erie990691882
Richmond857101904
Monroe780511156
Orange54508887
Rockland50893769
Onondaga45853714
Dutchess33770484
Albany28439368
Oneida25802548
Niagara22135383
Broome21773385
Saratoga18419191
Ulster16344271
Schenectady15293216
Rensselaer13319154
Putnam1184496
Chautauqua10940156
Oswego9623101
Chemung9069146
St. Lawrence8908116
Ontario854097
Steuben8394159
Cayuga7926101
Sullivan780781
Jefferson748971
Wayne697378
Cattaraugus672897
Genesee6067130
Herkimer6013117
Tompkins594659
Clinton567434
Madison540197
Fulton531097
Livingston518666
Montgomery5094133
Cortland482470
Warren470576
Columbia4655108
Tioga440067
Chenango419086
Otsego417451
Allegany401993
Greene395383
Washington394562
Wyoming391254
Orleans364584
Franklin353216
Lewis320736
Delaware307040
Seneca248059
Schoharie207620
Essex193929
Yates139926
Schuyler128416
Hamilton4083
Unassigned13542
Out of NY0290
Utica
Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Oneonta
Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 61°
Herkimer
Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 71°
Old Forge
Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 71°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
NEW Game Day Deals each week
Follow the 2021 Go the Distance Team - sponsored by Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy
Chapter Photofacial Therapy Giveaway
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve