As we all know, Coronavirus has rapidly spread across the world and has had devastating effects on all aspects of society, including the automotive industry. As much of the world enters the quarantine and lockdown period, manufacturing facilities around the world have had to suspend production. Last week we found out the impact this virus is having on the global economy and the car industry. As vehicle sales have dropped as a direct result of the virus, car firms are answering calls from governments to help make more ventilators and face masks to help out during the coronavirus pandemic.
Fiat, Nissan, General Motors and Ford are among those whose have pledged to offer support last week, with other major car firms looking to lend their assistance where possible.
Fiat announcing plans to begin converting their car plants in China to start making one million masks a month to those “at the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.”. Production capacity is being installed this week and the company will start manufacturing face masks in the coming weeks with initial distribution across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Meanwhile, Ford on Tuesday said it was working with GE Healthcare and 3M, another health industry manufacturer, to design modified respirators and ventilators, which could be produced using fans, batteries and other parts that Ford typically uses for its cars.
Tesla’s Elon Musk says he bought 1255 ventilators from China and donated them to medical staff in Los Angeles. Musk says China had an oversupply of the ventilators. Tesla, along with GM and Ford, is believed to be in talks with the US government about ventilator production.
This week Formula 1 launched ‘Project Pitlane’ involving the seven UK-based Formula 1 teams in a bid to help with the production of ventilator equipment in the fight against coronavirus. The teams – Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Haas and Williams – and their respective technology arms, plus F1 themselves, have been coordinating their response to the Government’s call for companies to provide assistance with manufacturing medical equipment.
In addition to those mentioned, other major car firms are looking at ways they can shift manufacturing towards ventilators. It is important in times like these for companies to remain agile and reactive to situations out of their control.