GM to make 30,000 ventilators to help US fight coronavirus pandemic

General Motors will make 30,000 ventilators within five months to support the US’s fight against the coronavirus, the feds said Wednesday.

The automaker will deliver the life-saving machines to the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of August through a $489.4 million contract with the federal Department of Health and Human Services, officials said.

It’s the first pact for ventilator production under the Defense Production Act, which President Donald Trump invoked two weeks ago to order GM to manufacture the breathing devices. The law dating to 1950 empowers the president to force action from private companies during national crises.

“By rating contracts under the DPA, HHS is helping manufacturers like GM get the supplies they need to produce ventilators as quickly as possible, while also ensuring that these ventilators are routed through the Strategic National Stockpile to where they’re needed most,” Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

The contract sets out a schedule that will see GM deliver more than 6,100 ventilators to the stockpile by June 1, according to the feds. The Detroit-based company has indicated it plans to start shipping ventilators as soon as this month through a partnership with medical device firm Ventec Life Systems.

The two companies are “working with speed and urgency to arm front-line medical professionals with the critical care ventilators they need to treat seriously ill patients,” GM said in a Wednesday statement. “We remain dedicated to working with the administration to ensure American innovation and manufacturing meet the needs of the country during this global pandemic.”

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