GM to start ventilator production this week

The automaker aims to have 6,000 of the breathing machines ready to ship by June 1.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
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GM has been hard at work prepping its Kokomo plant for these ventilators, which will be largely hand-built.

General Motors

General Motors and the federal government last week agreed on a contract where the automaker will supply the feds with thousands of ventilators for those suffering from the coronavirus. Now, it's time for everyone to put their noses to the collective grindstone and get down to the real work.

General Motors will begin production on 30,000 ventilators this week, Automotive News reports, following last week's contract finalization. The automaker's first shipment, which will comprise some 6,000 ventilators, is said to be on or ahead of schedule with a target shipping date of June 1. It's working closely with a partner, Ventec Systems, to ensure the ventilators can provide the breathing power that coronavirus victims might need during hospitalization. In an email to Roadshow, a GM spokesperson confirmed the company's intentions to start producing ventilators this week.

Watch this: The ventilator shortage, explained

AN says each V Plus Pro ventilator will cost approximately $16,000 each, about as much as Chevrolet's smallest car, the Spark. They will be produced at GM's factory in Kokomo, Indiana. A couple hundred employees have already been working on this project, and the automaker will hire a few hundred more temporary workers to ensure production is moving as fast as possible.

It's not just ventilators, either. Per AN's story, GM will need to produce at least 10 weeks' worth of replaceable parts for each machine. The automaker is also producing masks for health care workers at a transmission plant in Michigan that was previously shuttered.

General Motors was already preparing to build these ventilators with Ventec when the Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act, which compels private industry to accept contracts for products pertaining to the national defense. The pre-DPA talks allegedly fell apart over discussions of cost. The act has also been invoked with companies such as 3M to produce additional personal protective equipment.

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