American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is getting ready to make face masks for doctors, nurses and first responders working on the front lines of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
FCA’s goal is to make more than 1 million protective face shields per month, which the company says it will donate to police forces, fire fighters, paramedics, hospitals and health care clinics in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
The automaker is installing the necessary manufacturing facilities this week and says it will start making the masks “in the coming weeks,” according to a March 23 press release. According to this related article from the Reuters news agency FCA will produce the masks at one of its factories in China.
FCA is not alone in the effort to support the health care industry during the coronavirus crisis: its American competitors, Ford and General Motors, have recently announced their own bids to make face masks for health care works and ventilators for patients. The ventilators are crucial for COVID-19 sufferers with severe symptoms, which can include breathing difficulties.
Ford is teaming up with manufacturing giants 3M and GE in the pandemic efforts.
Italian sports car maker Ferrari — which is part-owned by Exor, the same investment group that controls nearly a third of FCA – has also joined the fight against the coronavirus. The company is working with an Italian respirator maker called Siare in a bid to help double production of breathing devices. No country has been hit harder by the coronavirus than Italy, where nearly 7,000 people had died from the illness as of the beginning of this week.