Ordered Into Action: GM and Feds Announce Ventilator Deal

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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ordered into action gm and feds announce ventilator deal

To its credit, General Motors was already preparing a foray into ventilator production when President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, locking the automaker into a pact to build truckloads of the life-saving equipment.

On Thursday, details of the no-profit deal became clear.

As reported by CNBC, federal officials say the automaker will add 30,000 ventilators to the federal stockpile by the end of August, with the deal carrying a pricetag of $489.4 million. The publication confirmed that GM will not make a profit off the effort.

Amid large coronavirus outbreaks in New York City, Detroit, and other locales, most automakers are doing their part in providing personal protective equipment to hospitals and state health agencies, but ventilators are a complicated piece of kit. They’re not cheap, either.

GM partnered with Ventec Life Systems to make the order possible. Despite media reports claiming a lofty sale price for the units, the agreement with the feds shows a per-unit price of $16,000, well below the $50k price tossed around last week.

Production starts next week, with the Department of Health and Human Services claiming first batch of over 6,100 ventilators due for delivery at the beginning of June. While the production surge could be seen as coming too late for the onset of the pandemic, it’s crucial for future outbreaks. Many health officials anticipate a second or even third wave of the virus over the next 18 to 24 months.

Production will take place at GM’s underutilized Kokomo, Indiana components plant, where the company expects to employ 1,000 workers on the ventilator initiative. It’s good news for UAW Local 292, which has long sought to boost the plant’s workforce.

“We remain dedicated to working with the Administration to ensure American innovation and manufacturing meet the needs of the country during this global pandemic,” said GM in statement.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
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  • SaulTigh SaulTigh on Apr 09, 2020

    I think we're going to end up building a bunch of vents that won't be needed. Been reading over the last day or so that doctors are now trying to do everything they can to NOT put WUHAN flu patients on ventilators. I've also been reading that 80-90% of people that are put on vents for any reason don't survive normally anyway, because once you get to the point of needing a vent, you generally aren't coming back from what ails you. My personal opinion is that the worst decisions get made when people give in to the notion that they HAVE to do something. I don't spend every flu season cowering in fear, and I refuse to do so now. Rationally, where I live, and with a normal level of precaution (wash hands, not touch face holes) and modest social distancing, the chances of me catching the WUHAN flu are very, very low.

    • JimZ JimZ on Apr 09, 2020

      guy has strong opinion from reading a few things on the internet. News at 11.

  • Dan Dan on Apr 09, 2020

    ARDS + ventilation is 50/50 at the best of times. It appears that when SARS-2 progresses to the oxygen starvation point it's also damaged the hemoglobin in the blood (among other things) to the point that ventilation rarely helps.

  • Parkave231 I'd rather they remember how to manufacture the things they have before adding more trims and options.
  • SCE to AUX "as if 775 lb-ft of torque in a pickup isn’t enough"Exactly. How about doing something hard instead, like getting your electric truck to meet 'truck' expectations first? That would sell better than a Raptor-like truck.
  • Akear They sell only 20,000 Mustang EVs a year. They better keep the current Mustang!
  • Jkross22 We're thinking about the 500e all wrong. This is a 'new' old car. All of the tooling and R&D is done. Easy way to move an 'Italian' car up market and boost fleet MPG. Plus... dealers can move all unsold models into demo/fleet usage so when Jeep and Durango owners come in for service, they can use this as a loaner.
  • Namesakeone Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. A light truck coming from Ford. We have never seen anything like it. (This is me trying to sound like I'm excited.)