Kudlow says GM CEO offers to make ventilators in shuttered auto factories
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Wednesday that General Motors CEO Mary Barra offered the automakers’ shuttered factories to produce ventilators to address the coronavirus crisis.
Barra reportedly made several suggestions for how GM could assist the government, including using factory space for ventilator production, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, adding that the government has yet to formally request the use of GM facilities.
The automaker “is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and has offered to help, and we are already studying how we can potentially support production of medical equipment like ventilators,” GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan told Reuters.
It remains unclear how long it would take for the manufacturer to develop ventilator manufacturing capabilities, but such a move has precedent both for the company and the coronavirus pandemic.
GM and other auto manufacturers revamped plants for tank production during World War II, while a number of companies have offered assistance during the pandemic in China, including Apple, Foxconn and joint venture automaker SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., which said they had developed production lines for manufacturing medical clothing and masks, according to Reuters.
Similarly, Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota have offered assistance against the U.K.’s outbreak after Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked the nation’s automakers to assist in ventilator production, Bloomberg reported.