In the midst of all the global unrest and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 (better known as the novel coronavirus), it has been uplifting to see how individuals and businesses are taking a stand and serving their communities. One such industry that has been leading the charge is the automotive industry, with big name auto manufacturers across the US quickly pivoting their business models toward doing social good.
In this article, we’ll take a quick look at how some of the top automakers in the country are shifting their production to support our healthcare workers fighting on the frontlines.
In late March, Ford announced that it would be shifting production to produce sorely-needed ventilators for medical facilities across the country. Since then, the auto giant has partnered with GE Healthcare to train workers and produce the medical machines, of which it hopes to build 1500 by the end of April, and 50k by the end of July.
Additionally, Ford has teamed up with the UAW to manufacture 100k face shields per week for medical workers treating coronavirus patients.
On a more micro level, one particular Ford dealership in Maryland is offering to pay peoples’ mortgage up to $1,500 for two months if they buy a new car – a tactic we may very well see other dealerships adopting in the coming weeks to spur revenue.
On March 19th, GM partnered with medical device company Ventec to ramp up the company’s typical output of 200 ventilators a week to over 2,000 per week. The automaker is currently filling hundreds of new jobs associated with their ventilator assembly lines, which will help boost the local economy of Kokomo, Indiana.
Of their efforts, spokesman Dan Flores noted, “Hundreds of people are working around the clock to make [it] happen as quickly as we can”.
America’s favorite electric car manufacturer is stepping up to produce hospital ventilators too. On April 5th, Tesla engineers uploaded a video to YouTube showcasing their own “pneumatic schematic” for a ventilator made from various medical machinery and car parts that would be fitted together.
In the video, engineering director Joe Mardell explains, “We’re working on developing our own ventilator design, specifically one that’s heavily based on Tesla car parts. We want to use parts that we know really well, we know the reliability of…”. So far, production on these coronavirus ventilators have yet to start, but production is projected to begin soon.
In addition to his company’s efforts, Tesla founder Elon Musk has donated thousands of face masks and ventilators (acquired from China) to American medical facilities.
As we collectively face one of the biggest challenges in our country’s history, it’s the good news stories that we need to hold onto. Seeing industry leaders stepping up to the plate is not only encouraging to see, but can inspire many to do something for their local communities as well. Whether it’s creating DIY face masks for your neighborhood, or donating meals to your local food pantry, there are a million little ways to get out there and do something good.
Stay safe, stay sane, and wash those hands!