As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, several IMSA manufacturer partners are leading the charge to assist with relief efforts.
Here are some examples of those manufacturers shifting their focus from the racetrack to the relief efforts:
General Motors developed a plan, arranged an assembly line and manufactured its first of what will be thousands of face masks for workers facing the threat of COVID-19 within one week. As of Monday, March 30 – just three days after the prototype was produced – more than 2,000 masks have been made with an estimated 20,000 to be delivered by Wednesday, April 8.
“Our team began looking at ways we could quickly utilize our talents and resources to help in the shared fight against COVID-19,” said Peter Thom, GM Vice President, Global Manufacturing Engineering. “Working around the clock, our team rallied with incredible passion and focus to come up with a plan to produce masks that will help protect the women and men on the frontlines of this crisis.”
Ford Motor Company announced an initiative with GE Healthcare to produce 50,000 ventilators in the next 100 days, assisting the United States’ government’s own goal of 100,000 in the same time frame. Using the design from Airon Corp.’s FDA-approved ventilator, these units are not dependent on electricity, but rather air pressure.
“The Ford and GE Healthcare teams, working creatively and tirelessly, have found a way to produce this vitally needed ventilator quickly and in meaningful numbers,” said Jim Hackett, Ford President and CEO. “By producing this ventilator in Michigan, in strong partnership with the (United Auto Workers), we can help health care workers save lives, and that’s our No. 1 priority.”
Production is intended to start the week of April 20, with 500 paid, UAW-represented volunteers to work around the clock to meet the manufacturer’s goal.
Lamborghini is looking to bring hope to Italy, one of the countries that has been most affected by COVID-19. At the manufacturer’s sports car production plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese, efforts have turned towards creating surgical masks and protective plexiglass shields for the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna.
It is anticipated that 1,000 masks and 200 shields will be produced per day.
“During this emergency, we feel the need to make a concrete contribution,” said Stefano Domenicali, chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “The S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital is an institution with which we have had a collaborative relationship for years, through both professional consultancy in promoting programs to protect our workers’ health, and in research projects. We will win this battle together by working in union, supporting those who are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic every day.”
Lamborghini also has been lighting up its historic headquarter buildings in Sant’Agata Bolognese every evening with the colors of the Italian flag as a sign of unity and support for the entire nation during this time.
Toyota, the parent company of Lexus, is in the early stages of its own COVID-19 assistance. Mass production of face shields was set to begin this week to aid hospitals in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas.
Additionally, the manufacturer is nearing partnerships with companies to produce face masks, ventilator hoods and respirator hoods.
“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,” Ted Ogawa, whose tenure as CEO of Toyota Motor North America began on Wednesday. “Our message to the medical equipment community is we are here to help. Please utilize our expertise.”