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Taking a Breather: Ford, GM end U.S. ventilator production

Detroit, Michigan — Both Ford and General Motors are ceasing the production of ventilators, turning its focuses back to the automotive business.

Ford ceased its ventilator production upon the completed delivery of 50,000 breathing machines to the U.S. government. The Michigan factory is now returning to full-time parts output. The automaker produced the ventilators in partnership with General Electric Co. The last unit was shipped Aug. 28 and will be used, like the others, to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of the ventilators have gone into the U.S. government stockpile as doctors have shifted away from using invasive ventilators with COVID-19 patients. The government currently has 108,000 ventilators in its medical equipment stockpile and 12,000 deployed at U.S hospitals.

Ford’s ventilators were made in a separate part of the plant so as to not affect the output of auto components, including transmission oil pumps, electric battery packs and fuel pumps.

Most factories have now returned to 95 percent of pre-virus production after the company shut down its plants in the spring to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ford’s Rawsonville Road plant has already resumed auto-parts production as a part of the industry-wide restart following the shutdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ford and GE Healthcare had originally planned to complete ventilator output in mid-July but had to seek an extension for HHS to accommodate new suppliers that were ramping up parts production.

Ford says they will continue to produce personal protective equipment and said it plans to deliver 10 million face masks to school districts across the U.S.

General Motors Co. also partnered with Ventec Life Systems Inc. and is scheduled to deliver 30,000 ventilators to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with more than 20,00 machines having already been delivered.

The companies both converted their auto factories to manufacture ventilators and personal protective equipment in an effort to aid the struggling health care workers amid the pandemic. Similarly to during the Second World War when automakers switched from making cars to tanks and planes.

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