LAKE ORION, MI – MARCH 22: General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra arrives at an event where she announced a $300 million investment in the GM Orion Assembly Plant plant for electric and self-driving vehicles at the Orion Assembly Plant on March 22, 2019 in Lake Orion, Michigan. Barra also announced that GM will be investing a total of $1.8 billion in plants in 6 states. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Bill Pugliano | Getty Images
General Motors on Friday announced it will lend its auto factories to support Ventec Life Systems’ production of ventilators in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are working closely with Ventec to rapidly scale up production of their critically important respiratory products to support our country’s fight again the COVID-19 pandemic,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We will continue to explore ways to help in this time of crisis.”
Ventec said it is planning to “leverage GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise” to build ventilators, which are for patients who cannot breathe on their own. The ventilators will be necessary to support patients as COVID-19 spreads.
GM CEO Mary Barra on Wednesday had told the Trump administration that the automaker was studying how it could potentially support production of medical equipment like ventilators. That day, GM announced the closure of its North American factories at least until March 30.
“With GM’s help, Ventec will increase ventilator production,” said Ventec Life Systems CEO Chris Kiple in a statement. “By tapping their expertise, GM is enabling us to get more ventilators to more hospitals much faster. This partnership will help save lives.”
Ventec and GM struck their partnership with the help of StopTheSpread.org, an organization that “is working to unite the business community around a common threat to our economy and our way of life.”
Around the world, there are more than 259,000 cases of the coronavirus with at least 11,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., there are at least 17,000 cases, with at least 210 deaths.
—CNBC’s Phil LeBeau contributed to this story