General Motors (NYSE:GM) is putting its network of suppliers to work as it gears up to help manufacture medical ventilators, urgently needed by hospitals battling the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Crain's Detroit Business reported on Sunday that, at GM's behest, several traditional auto industry suppliers near Detroit are preparing to manufacture parts for at least 200,000 ventilators, and that manufacturing is expected to begin shortly.
Those companies include Meridian Lightweight Technologies, part of Zhejiang Wanfeng Auto Holdings, which is helping GM procure compressor parts; Myotek, a lighting manufacturer, which is set to begin making small magnesium components; and Creative Foam Corporation, which will make foam components for the ventilators, according to the report.
All three companies expect to begin shipping parts to GM this week, possibly as early as today. GM and the suppliers worked through the weekend to gear up for production.
This effort has taken shape quickly. GM and ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems announced on Friday night that they will work together to dramatically boost production of ventilators and speed up delivery of the machines to hospitals.
Both of GM's Detroit rivals are also entering the effort: Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is reportedly working toward making ventilators, possibly in the U.K. And Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) said over the weekend that it is converting a plant in Asia to produce 1 million face masks per month.