Automakers Transition to Manufacturing Medical Equipment
As expected, new car sales took a dive in March due to the blooming Coronavirus outbreak.
Overall, industry sales were down about 45%, with few brands bucking the trend. Sales for the first three months of 2020 were nearly 15% lower than a year ago. Demand for pickup trucks remained strong however. Looking ahead to April, experts predict an 80% decline as more and more dealership showrooms are now closed. Generous incentives and 0% financing should help the market resurge once the pandemic is past.
As to the virus crisis, automakers are stepping up their efforts to provide more medical equipment.
GM, for one, is working with Ventec Life Systems and is under renewed government pressure to act quickly. Ventilators will be built at GM’s Kokomo, Indiana plant. GM will also be manufacturing surgical masks at their facility in Warren, Michigan. The automaker says they will produce 50,000 masks a day or up to 1.5 million a month. Ford is also stepping up, assembling more than 100,000 plastic face shields per week to protect those on the front lines. And working with GE Healthcare, they’re churning out ventilators too. They expect to produce 50,000 of the life-saving devices within the next 100 days.
Manufacturers, like Tesla, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, and others have all launched similar efforts both here and abroad. And that that does it for this week’s Motor News update.