GM in Talks to Build Medical Equipment if Needed: Report

While there soon won’t be any cars, trucks, or SUVs rolling out of GM’s auto plants in North America, the automaker could instead be starting to build lifesaving medical devices in order to help the country cope with COVID-19.

Reuters is reporting that GM, along with Ford, has been in talks with the White House to determine what, if any, help that the automakers could offer, given their extensive production facilities and experience with prototyping and 3D printing.

GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan told Reuters that the automaker “is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and has offered to help, and we are already studying how we can potentially support production of medical equipment like ventilators.”

Company CEO Mary Barra reportedly spoke to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow about the issue shortly after announcing the suspension of vehicle production.

Of course, the transition from cars to ventilators could take time, but if there is a shortage, GM has experience in making an emergency changeover, like that undertaken in WWII to build tanks, planes, and other war materiels.

Late last month, GM’s China joint venture SAIC-GM-Wuling became the first automaker to change from cars to face masks, and is planning to distribute more than six million masks to the public for free. Yesterday, the GM venture said it had already delivered more than 12 million to local authorities, some universities, and company suppliers.

General Motors has previous experience developing medical devices, including the first-ever mechanical heart pump, which is pictured above and was built by the GM Research Laboratories.