Ford has announced that it will help to produce respirators and ventilators that are needed by critically ill coronavirus patients in a bid to address the shortages of these and other vital medical equipment due to the outbreak.
The carmaker will join forces with 3M and GE Healthcare to also produce protective gear for healthcare workers who have expressed concerns about the difficulties in getting hold of enough critical supplies.
The Blue Oval will work with 3M (MMM) to create a new kind of Powered Air-Purifying Respirator at one of its Michigan factories and will also help to increase production of 3M's current respirator device by using parts such as fans from the popular F-150 truck's optional ventilated seats.
"Working with 3M and GE, we have empowered our teams of engineers and designers to be scrappy and creative to quickly help scale up production of this vital equipment," Ford CEO Jim Hackett said.
"We've been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs."
The automaker will also work with the United Auto Workers Union to make clear plastic face shields to protect people from infectious bodily fluids and is using 3D printing to create disposable air-filtering respirator masks.
General Motors is already working with Ventec Life Systems to help increase its production of ventilators for hospital patients and aims to make them at its Kokomo, Indiana, electronics assembly plant.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it will produce as many as 1 million protective face masks a week and donate them to hospitals, police and emergency personnel dealing with coronavirus patients.