GM and medical device maker Ventec Life Systems said March 20 they are collaborating to enable the Seattle manufacturer to rapidly scale up production of its respiratory care products, including ventilators, to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
GM is adding its logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to help Ventec build more ventilators.
The partnership was brokered by StopTheSpread.org, a non-governmental organization that is attempting to unite business leaders across the country to collect resources to complement and support government efforts to contain the pandemic.
"With GM’s help, Ventec will increase ventilator production,” said its 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."
Neither company said in the announcement that GM facilities would be used to actually produce Ventec ventilators or specified the next steps in producng the machines.
A GM spokesman said the companies had no details to share at this time about manufacturing of the equipment.
"We are working closely with Ventec to rapidly scale up production of their critically important respiratory products to support our country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, in the statement. “We will continue to explore ways to help in this time of crisis."
Stopthespread.org said in a statement that the partnership "is a vital step in delivering relief to our healthcare system, which is threatened by the spread of COVID-19. As this virus continues to endanger the lives of countless Americans, StopTheSpread.org is working to unite the business community around a common threat."
The statement also said Stopthespread.org's effort in containing the pandemic relies on urgent coordination between the public and private sectors.
Other automakers contacted for this story did not respond to requests for comment about potential production of medical equipment at their facilities. A Tesla spokesperson had not returned requests for comment, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter March 20 that his company was "working on [producing] ventilators."
GM's facilities, like those of most U.S. automakers, are currently closed due to the pandemic