Kudlow: GM CEO offers to make ventilators amid coronavirus shortage

Per Bloomberg, Tesla Inc. joined General Motors Co. in offering to manufacture hospital ventilators in auto factories shuttered by the coronavirus outbreak, an effort that would echo Detroit’s contribution to Allied powers during World War II.

Responding to Pakistan’s Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry and a tweet from a Tesla customer, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said the company would make ventilators if there is a shortage. GM CEO Mary Barra also floated the idea, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters Wednesday.

On Fox News earlier, he described an unidentified auto executive’s offer to call back workers to idled plants to make the medical devices needed to treat critically ill virus patients, and said it was made “on a voluntary basis for civic and patriotic reasons.”

Barra, 58, suggested ways the company could help during the crisis, a person familiar with the matter said. GM could use some of its excess factory space to build ventilators and has people looking into how that would be done, said the person, who asked not to be identified describing a private conversation.

TheHill reports White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Wednesday that General Motors CEO Mary Barra offered the automakers’ shuttered factories to produce ventilators to address the coronavirus crisis.

Barra reportedly made several suggestions for how GM could assist the government, including using factory space for ventilator production, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, adding that the government has yet to formally request the use of GM facilities.

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,” GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan told Reuters.

It remains unclear how long it would take for the manufacturer to develop ventilator manufacturing capabilities, but such a move has precedent both for the company and the coronavirus pandemic.