With their factories and dealerships closed, European automakers and supplier are pitching in to help combat the coronavirus outbreak. Some are working to increase output of ventilators and face masks, while others are donating vehicles, money or volunteer workers to the effort.
A number of automakers have committed to help boost production of ventilators, expensive and complex machines that are used to support the breathing of gravely ill coronavirus patients by putting oxygen into the lungs. Lung failure is a typical cause of death for coronavirus patients.
A critical shortage of ventilators in some areas has led doctors to make life-or-death decisions about which patients can get access to them. Ventilators can cost more than 15,000 euros ($16,400) each.
Among automakers involved in ventilator efforts are:
- PSA Group, which is working with a French consortium including supplier Valeo that is seeking to produce 10,000 of the machines by the end of May.
- Seat, Volkswagen Group's Spanish brand, which is converting part of its main factory in Martorell to build ventilators using some parts adapted from its vehicles.
- Ford and Rolls-Royce are part of a UK government effort to build 10,000 ventilators.
- Fiat, with the help of Ferrari, has begun producing electrovalves, a key part in ventilators, at its plant in Cento, northern Italy.