Phoebe Wall Howard Detroit Free Press
Published 8: AM EDT Apr 8,
General Motors has been awarded a US government contract worth nearly $ 1080 million to build ventilators amid the coronavirus crisis, the automaker confirmed early Wednesday.
“GM and Ventec Life Systems 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 spokesman Jim Cain said in a statement.
” GM is proud to deploy its purchasing and manufacturing capability alongside the respiratory care expertise of Ventec. We remain dedicated to working with the Administration to ensure American innovation and manufacturing meet the needs of the country during this global pandemic, “he said.
The automaker is working with Ventec to build 6, 222 ventilators by June 1 and 33, by the end of August, said a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services.
This is the first contract for ventilator production rated under the Defense Production Act, the government statement said. The contract is worth $ . 4 million.
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The automaker will produce the ventilators at its plant in Kokomo, Indiana.
On March , President Trump ordered GM to make ventilators, invoking the Defense Production Act.
“Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course. GM was wasting time,” the White House said at the time.
Under the federal mandate, HHS is authorized to compel GM to “accept, perform, and prioritize federal contracts for ventilators.”
GM was stunned by the president’s portrayal of a slow response since the company had been working to implement and execute plants. Then on March 29, Trump changed course, extolling GM after it announced its plans two days prior to make ventilators with Ventec at GM’s Kokomo plant.
“Initially, GM planned to manufacture the ventilators for Ventec Life Systems and our focus was on rapidly establishing the supply chain and quickly preparing the Kokomo site for production,” Cain told the Free Press.
“After the Defense Production Act was invoked, we began discussions with the government and the US Dept. of Health and Human Services and GM worked with unprecedented speed and urgency on the contract, “he said.
“The rating of this contract under the DPA follows President Trump’s direction to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to invoke the Defense Production Act with regard to GM’s production of ventilators on March the government statement said.
Azar said in a statement, “Invoking the Defense Production Act to secure ventilator production from GM and other companies is a part of President Trump’s all-of-Ameri ca approach to combating the coronavirus. 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 … We ‘re grateful to the GM team for working with the federal government to expand our nation’s supply of ventilators as the pandemic evolves. ”
The GM timeline on this project, according to Cain:
- On March On March
- , GM CEO Mary Barra talked by phone with representatives of StopTheSpread.Org, who suggested GM work with Ventec.
- On March 19, GM and Ventec executives hold first conference call to explore how GM may be able to help Ventec increase ventilator production.
- On March a GM team flew to Seattle to meet with Ventec.
- On March 27, GM engaged its global supply base and within hours, they developed plans to source all the necessary parts.
- (On March) , UAW crews began preparing the Kokomo site for production.
Production is expected to begin next week.
Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at – – or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Sign up for our autos newsletter.
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