Fighting Coronavirus Isn't Just for the Domestics

fighting coronavirus isnt just for the domestics

For some reason, Ford and General Motors’ efforts to fill gaps in the medical supply chain have garnered considerable press. This has a way of happening when the President yells at you in public.

Tesla and Fiat Chrysler have stepped up to the plate to help out, too, filling a need in a country hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. A collective effort is good, but Toyota Motor North America wants others to know it’s a member of the same team. Make use of us, it’s telling others.

With North American production shut down just like the others, Toyota has pivoted to the production of medical equipment — specifically, personal protective equipment (PPE) like face shields and masks, while at the same time laying groundwork for ventilator production.

According to the automaker, 3D-printed face shields, seen below, will begin production next week at an unspecified manufacturing site (that’s almost certainly its San Antonio, Texas plant).

“The first distribution will be to MD Anderson in Houston, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and other hospitals in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan,” the company said in a statement.

Filtering masks will roll out of Toyota facilities just as soon as it finds a partner for that filter, the automaker added, noting that agreements with two companies are now in the finalization stage. Once sealed, the pact will lead to production of much-needed ventilators.

Toyota did not list the two potential partners, nor the exact nature of how it planned to boost output.

“With our plants idled and our dealers focused on servicing customers, we are eager to contribute our expertise and know-how in order to help quickly bring to market the medical supplies and equipment needed to combat the COVID crisis,” TMNA’s incoming CEO, Ted Ogawa, said in a statement. “Our message to the medical equipment community is we are here to help, please utilize our expertise.”

With a significant manufacturing footprint in North America and an incredibly loyal fanbase, seeing Toyota sitting this one out would be unusual. Americans have bought more than 2 million Toyotas per year for six years running, with the automaker’s market share not falling below 12 percent for the last eight.

[Images: Toyota]

Join the conversation
13 of 62 comments
  • Thelaine Thelaine on Mar 28, 2020

    It is becoming apparent that the end-of-the-world predictions, computer models warning of an apocalyptic black plague worldwide, are all wrong. Those paying attention were warned that the worse-case scenarios were hysterical, by the likes of Stanford epidemiologist John P.A. Ioannidis. In dramatic fashion, U.K. Imperial College scientist Neil Ferguson published a doomsday scenario on March 16. Now, just ten days later, he has reversed his outlook, essentially settling on a prediction no worse than a bad flu season. Most telling, the two U.S. public health icons, Drs Fauci and Birx, are both saying the extreme models that provoked extreme measures bear little resemblance to the actual data on the ground. From the New England Journal of Medicine March 26 co-authored by Fauci: This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.

    • See 10 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Mar 29, 2020

      @Arthur Dailey - Today's BC data shows the following COVID-19 data: 14% (1 in 7) require hospitalization x 12 days 19% (1 in 20) require critical care. 80% of this group will require mechanical ventilation. Earlier mechanical ventilation appears to improve outcomes. BC is able to handle an outbreak at the level that China experienced. On a side note: 1/3 of cases are under 40 years old.

  • Threeer Threeer on Mar 29, 2020

    I hope that when this passes that America comes upon the realization that we have become totally dependent on China and that we take back our independence and ability to provide for our own country. But the realist in me knows that once we are able, we will run right back out and begin massive consumption of cheap goods from a country that is neither friend or ally. We could be leading the effort to solve this, much like we have done in the past, but I fear our desire and ambition to take the reigns had long passed…

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.