General Motors switches manufacturing to ventilators

Not unlike Roosevelt's arsenal of democracy in WWII, automakers are stepping up to manufacture critical care tools

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VOCSN critical care ventilators are prepared for distribution at the General Motors manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana. GM and Ventec Life Systems are partnering to produce the ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic | AJ Mast photo

The first VOCSN V+Pro critical care ventilators produced by General Motors and Ventec Life Systems in Kokomo, Indiana are being delivered to hospitals in Chicago at the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The shift in production is putting important tools in the hands of frontline medical professionals treating patients seriously ill with COVID-19.

A UPS truck transporting the first VOCSN critical care ventilators produced at the General Motors manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana, departs for Franciscan Health Olympia Fields Hospital in Illinois | AJ Mast photo

Franciscan Health Olympia Fields received their shipment early Friday morning and Weiss Memorial are set to receive theirs Friday afternoon. A third shipment from GM-Kokomo will be delivered to FEMA at the Gary/Chicago International Airport on Saturday for distribution to other locations directed by the Fed.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra (l to r) and Ventec Life Systems CEO Chris Kiple talk with a worker while touring the GM manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana | AJ Mast photo

The combined teams at GM and Ventec Life Systems have sourced thousands of parts, transformed GM’s advanced electronics facility in Kokomo for medical device production, and contracted with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide 30,000 ventilators by the end of August and launched mass production. More than 1,000 men and women from the Kokomo community will be building ventilators.

“The passion and commitment that people at GM, Ventec and our suppliers have put into this work is inspiring, and we are all humbled to support the heroic efforts of medical professionals in Chicagoland and across the world who are fighting to save lives and turn the tide of the pandemic,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.

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Ventec Life Systems staff show nursing staff at Franciscan Health Olympia Fields Hospital how to operate VOCSN critical care respirators Friday, April 17, 2020 in Olympia Fields, Illinois, just outside of Chicago | Nuccio DiNuzzo photo

The White House had high praise for the quick turnaround. According to Assistant to the President Dr. Peter Navarro: “Not only has GM and Ventec set a new Trump Time standard in rapid industrial mobilization – just weeks from site construction to ventilator production – the GM/Ventec ventilators are now rolling off the line. Through the seamless coordination of FEMA, these lifesaving devices are equally rapidly being delivered to hospitals in need in Chicago and Gary. A patriotic White House salute to the full power of private enterprise joining hands with the full force of the federal government to fight the invisible enemy!”

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Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the ClassicCars.com Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It is very good to see positive comments from the White House after such a severe tongue-lashing earlier. Many times chastising statements are made but never a compliment after the work is well done I am always glad to see public praise for exceptional work. So I applaud the WH for their comment and I especially salute GM for an amazing job.

  2. Trump is vulgar and a chronic criminal, I would not hold my breath till he starts
    sending 3am texts out blasting GM….or someone. He always belittles as a self defense strategy. I used to think he was not narcissistic
    but crazy, but he.s not crazy , he.s just a wanna be oligarch
    with bad straw hair and. true evil in his mind. I wonder if he will hit a billion in skimmed off tax payer funds before he.s ousted. I always knew the dumbing down of our tattered education would have consequences and it did…..it produced millions of Americans so dumb they can.t see a monster right in front of their noses.

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