Fighting Coronavirus Isn't Just for the Domestics

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
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  • 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.

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    • 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…

  • Stephen My "mid-level" limited edition Tonino Lambo Ferraccio Junior watch has performed flawlessly with attractive understated style for nearly 20 years. Their cars are not so much to my taste-- my Acura NSX is just fine. Not sure why you have such condescension towards these excellent timepieces. They are attractive without unnecessary flamboyance, keep perfect time and are extremely reliable. They are also very reasonably priced.
  • Dana You don’t need park, you set auto hold (button on the console). Every BMW answers to ‘Hey, BMW’, but you can set your own personal wake word in iDrive. It takes less than 5 minutes to figure that that out, btw. The audio stays on which is handy for Teams meetings. Once your phone is out of range, the audio is stopped on the car. You can always press down on the audio volume wheel which will mute it, if it bothers you. I found all the controls very intuitive.
  • ToolGuy Not sure if I've ever said this, or if you were listening:• Learn to drive, people.Also, learn which vehicles to take home with you and which ones to walk away from. You are an adult now, think for yourself. (Those ads are lying to you. Your friendly neighborhood automotive dealer, also lying to you. Politicians? Lying to you. Oh yeah, learn how to vote lol.)Addendum for the weak-minded who think I am advocating some 'driver training' program: Learning is not something you do in school once for all time. Learning how to drive is not something that someone does for you. It is a continuous process driven by YOU. Learn how to learn how to drive, and learn to drive. Keep on learning how to drive. (You -- over there -- especially you, you kind of suck at driving. LOL.)Example: Do you know where your tires are? When you are 4 hours into a 6 hour interstate journey and change lanes, do you run over the raised center line retroreflective bumpers, or do you steer between them?
  • Mike Bradley Advertising, movies and TV, manufacturing, and car culture have all made speeding and crashing the ultimate tests of manhood. Throw in the political craziness and you've got a perfect soup of destruction and costs.
  • Lou_BC Jay Leno had said that EV's would be good since they could allow the continued existence of ICE cars for enthusiasts. That sentiment makes sense. Many buyers see vehicles as a necessary appliance.