Car manufacturers are among the firms adapting their business models so that production of ventilators can be increased.

Car manufacturers are switching their production lines to deliver hospital ventilators. In Australia, it includes Ford Australia and Holden Special Vehicles, which are adapting their factories to produce ventilators and other medical equipment.

Businesses are gearing up capacity to boost the output of breathing ventilators. It is understood that Ford Australia is in high-level talks with federal government agencies to leverage its expertise in design, engineering and manufacturing to help speed production of essential medical equipment as the coronavirus pandemic escalates.

In an interview with GoAuto, Ford Australia and New Zealand president and CEO Kay Hart said the company was working closely with its Detroit headquarters and Ford in the UK to learn from those countries’ experience in order to apply this at a local level.

Health Minister Greg Hunt told Parliament the government was seeking to double intensive care unit (ICU) capacity, including ventilators. 

Meanwhile, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) acknowledged the pandemic is likely to affect the industry as the situation worsens. 

“The industry is keeping a watchful eye on the activities of parent companies across the globe, including in Europe, the USA, the UK and Asia, where production facilities in some plants have been temporarily closed,” said Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI.