GM will deliver its first batch of 600 ventilators to FEMA this week for hospitals in Indiana and Illinois after ‘working round the clock’ after being awarded at $489.4 million contract to produce 30,000 by August
- Staff in Kokomo, Indiana have been working ’20-hour days’, CEO Mary Barra said
- Barra said the delivery of 600 ventilators this month is ahead of schedule
- GM is working with ventilator firm Ventec Life Systems to produce the machines
- They expect to fill nearly half the order by June and the full order by August
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded nine contracts totaling nearly $2.6 billion to produce 137,000 ventilators by the end of 2020
- That included the contract to GM worth $489.4 million for 30,000 ventilators
General Motors Co has said it will deliver its first batch of 600 ventilators to FEMA this week for hospitals in Indiana and Illinois.
CEO Mary Barra told NBC staff at their plant in Kokomo, Indiana have been working ‘virtually around the clock, 20-hour days, to make sure we can start building ventilators as quickly as possible’.
Barra said the delivery of 600 ventilators this month is ahead of schedule.
GM, which is working with ventilator firm Ventec Life Systems to produce the medical equipment, said it expected to fill nearly half the order by the end of June and the full order by the end of August.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded nine contracts totaling nearly $2.6 billion to produce 137,000 ventilators by the end of 2020 for the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile.
That included the contract to GM worth $489.4 million for the 30,000 ventilators after President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act.
Workers build the first production ventilators at the General Motors manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana, Tuesday, April 14, 2020. GM and Ventec Life Systems are partnering to produce Ventec critical care ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
General Motors and Ventec Life Systems are partnering to convert the GM Kokomo, Indiana ERC building for the production of Ventec ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
White House adviser Peter Navarro said that ‘as these lifesaving ventilators roll off GM’s assembly line as fast as tanks once did in an earlier World War, they will be rapidly deployed.’
GM Chairman and CEO Barra added: ‘Thousands of men and women at GM, Ventec, our suppliers and the Kokomo community have rallied to support their neighbors and the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic.
‘Everyone wants to help turn the tide and save lives. It is inspiring and humbling to see the passion and commitment people have put into this work.’
Navarro added: ‘GM has moved swiftly in Trump time to manufacture one of the most critical lifesaving devices in America’s war against the coronavirus.
‘GM’s rapid mobilization of America’s manufacturing might in defense of our country is a proud salute to the ingenuity of its engineers, the true grit of its UAW workers on the line, and America’s doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals fighting for our lives at the front lines.’
‘Until there is a vaccine, critical care ventilators give medical professionals the tools they need to fight this pandemic and save lives,’ said Ventec Life Systems CEO Chris Kiple.
‘This partnership is an historic effort and a great reminder of what can be accomplished with the power of American innovation and American manufacturing skill uniting together around a singular mission to save lives.’
GM’s shares closed flat. The stock has fallen more than 37 per cent this year, as coronavirus-related lockdowns weigh on automobile sales.
Workers build the first production ventilators at the General Motors manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana, Monday, April 13
Other contracts announced by HHS in recent days include a $646.7 million contract to Dutch health technology company Philips and others to General Electric Co, Hill-Rom Holdings Inc, Medtronic Plc , ResMed Inc, Vyaire Medical Inc, Hamilton Medical AG and Zoll Medical Corp.
Hamilton is receiving a $552 million contract for 14,115 ventilators, while Vyaire is receiving a $407.9 million contract for 22,000 ventilators produced by June 29 and Zoll is receiving a $350.1 million contract for 18,900 ventilators, HHS said on Monday.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement the contracts ‘will mean we have more capacity to respond to the pandemic as it evolves.’