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The COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak has brought everyday life to a screeching halt, with resources scarce, roads empty, and factories shutting down. They say hard times bring out either the worst in people or the best in them, and these automakers clearly fall in the latter category. Here are some stories of how the biggest car makers across the globe are aiding the effort to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Mahindra Develop Ventilators to Fight Coronavirus

The Mahindra Group’s Chairman, Anand Mahindra has ensured that India’s leading SUV makers don’t sit back during the Coronavirus pandemic. Not only has he announced that he will donate 100% of his salary to help combat the virus, but he has also offered the use of the brand’s hospitality ventures – Club Mahindra resorts across the country for use as temporary quarantine centres. Those two steps are a big gesture in themselves, but over and above this, Mahindra also confirmed that his company would be working on developing low-cost ventilators to help assuage the demand for this critical medical machinery. Work has already begun on this development process and according to Mahindra, his company will provide interim ventilators for a price estimated to be below Rs 7,500 even though full-scale ventilators cost Rs 5 to 10 lakh. At the time of writing, the brand has confirmed that a prototype will be ready for approval in three days, and once it is given the go-ahead Mahindra will also share the design to others who wish to manufacture it.

 

MG Motor India Pledge Rs 2 Crore for Coronavirus Aid

MG Motor may have entered the Indian market only recently, but they too have been early movers in the attempt to thwart the spread of the coronavirus. The contribution is split down the middle between the brand and its employees and is being used to bolster medical facilities near MG Motor India’s major facilities. Here’s what the official statement from the brand said –

“As a socially responsible organisation, MG Motor India today announced a donation of Rs 2 crore for the government hospitals and health institutions providing medical assistance in Gurugram and Halol (Vadodara), where the carmaker’s facilities are located – to ensure the health and well-being of the medical staff and underprivileged sections of society.

“While Rs 1 crore contribution will come from the company directly, its employees have also pledged to donate another Rs 1 crore. The contribution includes gloves, masks, ventilators, medicines and beds etc. depending on the particular requirement of the specific government hospitals and health institutions providing medical assistance in Gurugram and Halol (Vadodra).”

 

It isn’t just here in India that the manufacturers are stepping up, brands are doing their bit across the world to help stem the tide of the Coronavirus.

Ford Builds Ventilators, Respirators & More

Ford have tied with experts like 3M, and GE Healthcare to build respirators, ventilators and “face shields.” Not only have Ford tied up with 3M to increase the production of their Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR) – similar to N95 masks – but they are also working together to develop a new design of these respirators that with leverage parts from both the company’s production lines.

The American brand is also working with GE to start mass-producing a scaled-down version of the latter’s ventilator design to help those facing breathing difficulties due to the Coronavirus. Ventilators are in huge demand at hospitals across the world so this step will definitely make a positive contribution.

Speaking regarding these ventures, Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO said, “Working with 3M and GE, we have empowered our teams of engineers and designers to be scrappy and creative to quickly help scale up production of this vital equipment.”

That’s not all though, the brand is also working on transparent full-face shields for first responders and medical professionals. When used in conjunction with N95 masks these shields will provide additional protection and ensure that not only the mouth but the wearer’s entire face, including the eyes stay protected. Ford are aiming to produce about 1 lakh of these masks per week.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mahindra’s alliance with Ford, the Indian brand has also started making the aforementioned face shields from their Kandivali facility. They are making a test batch of 500 on 30 March 2020 and will ramp up productions thereafter.

 

FCA to Manufacture 1 million Face Masks a Month

Ford aren’t the only American brand working on face masks though, as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles or FCA are also working on manufacturing a million face masks a month to help medical workers, health clinics, firefighters and other first responders in the US, Canada and Mexico. Speaking regarding this initiative, FCA CEO Mike Manley said, “Protecting our first responders and health care workers has never been more important. In addition to the support we are giving to increase the production of ventilators, we canvassed our contacts across the healthcare industry and it was very clear that there is an urgent and critical need for face masks. We’ve marshalled the resources of the FCA Group to focus immediately on installing production capacity for making masks and supporting those most in need on the front line of this pandemic. ”

No word on whether this production will be replicated in the brand’s facility here in India as of now, but FCA’s official release did mention that further updates will be released in the near future.

 

Chinese Brand BYD Create World’s Biggest Mask-making Plant

Sticking with the carmakers-producing-masks theme, we move to China where industry powerhouse BYD have developed the world’s largest plant for mass-produced face masks. Since China has been the country that has seen the most devastation at the hands of the Coronavirus, BYD have stepped up to help. This plant produces a staggering 5 million masks and 3 lakh bottles of disinfectants every day. That is an impressive number of masks produced per day, and with it, BYD, ostensibly an automobile, heavy machinery and electronics manufacturer, managed to produce as many masks in one day, as the whole of China was able to produce in just over a week in February. Impressive.

 

UPDATE: Two of India’s biggest carmakers have also waded into the Coronavirus fight: 

Hyundai Bring In Coronavirus Testing Kits

Hyundai India have got in on the act as well. Announcing that they are bringing in “COVID-19 Advanced Diagnostic Testing Kits” from South Korea. The brand claims that these kits feature a very high level of accuracy and will help up to 25,000 people. Once they have arrived in India, these kits will be distributed where they have the highest requirement based on the decision of the State and Central Government.

 

Maruti Suzuki to Produce 10,000 Ventilators a Month to Help Battle Coronavirus in India

India’s biggest car manufacturer is the latest automotive brand to step into the ring to take the fight to the dreaded Coronavirus. A statement released by the brand said that this decision came off the back of a direct request for assistance from the Government of India. Maruti Suzuki have tied up with AgVa healthcare to produce ventilators from their plants with the intention of producing 10,000 units per month. Under their banner of the Krishna Maruti Limited – a JV with the Krishna Group (an automotive components conglomerate), they aim to produce 3-ply masks that will be supplied to both the Haryana Government and the Central Government. Ashok Kapur, Founder and Group Chairman of the Krishna Group, has also pledged to donate 2 million free masks as part of his contribution to the efforts. Lastly, they will also be producing protective clothing through Bharat Seats which is a long term joint venture between Maruti Suzuki India and the Relan Group.

Also Read: Coronavirus Car Cleaning: Protecting your Car against COVID-19

 

About the author: Harket Suchde

 

Senior Correspondent at Car India Magazine, rock-n-roll kid, footy fanatic and gaming nut. You can hit me up on Twitter @thecrediblehark - I promise I'll respond...eventually.
P.S. I'm also on the ol' #gram as @theincrediblehark

 

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