What is GM doing to battle the coronavirus?

A man in a GM factory makes masks to combat COVID-19

GM Mask and Ventilator Production

The coronavirus has, in many ways, uniquely united humanity like never before. The virus does not discriminate who it infects, and everyone is at risk. It’s already changed the daily lives of almost everyone in the world, and the fight is in many ways just beginning.

While it remains to be seen what the long-lasting effects of the coronavirus will be, many corporations are finding it necessary for their public image that they switch gears from making profits to battling the virus. What is GM doing to help in humanity’s fight against COVID-19?

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GM has been an exemplary force in how a company can shift its priorities in an emergency. The automaker began implementing extreme sanitary measures on the 18th of March, and two days later they moved to working with Ventec Life Systems to produce much-needed respiratory care products. Currently, GM hopes to delivery 20,000 masks on April 8th, and that’s just the beginning.

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A woman in a GM plant sews masks to combat the coronavirusGM Coronavirus Response Timeline

  • The first move GM made in response to the novel coronavirus came on March 18th, when the automaker announced it would begin a “systematic orderly suspension” of their manufacturing operations in North America. This was for the purpose of deep cleaning the facilities in the continual effort to prioritize human wellbeing.
  • Two days later, on March 20th, GM and Ventec Life Systems, in cooperation with StopTheSpread.org (which is the nation’s coordinated private sector response to the coronavirus), collaborated to increase production of respiratory care products.
  • On the 24th, the automaker “fortified their balance sheet.” GM elaborated that they were “increasing austerity measures” to “preserve cash” and “manage liquidity.” You know, financial stuff.

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  • On March 27th, GM announced they would be building VOCSN critical care ventilators at their Kokomo Indiana facility, with the ventilators scheduled to ship out the next month. This effort is meant to combat the global backorder on critical care ventilators due to COVID-19. GM also planned to restart production at its previously-shuttered Warren, Michigan manufacturing plant, with a focus on making face masks.
  • On March 31st, GM announced their plan to deliver 20,000 masks on April 8th. By March 30th, more than 2,000 masks had been produced by teams working through the weekend. Once the line gets running at full speed, it’s slated to be able to produce up to 50,000 masks per day.
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