General Motors (GM) - Get Report and medical device company Ventec Life Systems said Friday they will be mass-producing ventilators after President Donald Trump blasted the automaker on Twitter for coming up short on a promise to provide 40,000 ventilators to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
CNBC reported late Friday that Trump was invoking the Defense Production Act to order to make the ventilators. The order does not change GM’s previously announced plans or schedule to produce the ventilators, CNBC said.
GM said it is partnering with Seattle-based medical device company Ventec Life Systems to build FDA-cleared ventilators at GM’s Kokomo, Indiana facility to be ready for shipment next month and ramp to making more than 10,000 of the devices per month with the infrastructure and capability to scale further. GM is donating its resources at cost.
"Ventec and GM are working around the clock to meet the urgent need for more ventilators," the companies said in a statement. "GM will deploy an estimated 1,000 American workers to scale production of critical care ventilators immediately. Working with the UAW, GM has brought back employees from GM’s Kokomo and Marion facilities."
Earlier in the day, Trump took to Twitter to charge GM came up short a promise to provide 40,000 ventilators to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
"As usual with 'this' General Motors, things just never seem to work out," Trump tweeted. "They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, “very quickly”. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke “P”.
"Mary B." is an apparent reference to GM Chief Executive Mary Barra and Trump said in a follow-up tweet that "P" referred to the Defense Production Act. Trump invoked the Defense Production Act last week to ramp up the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The move will enable the U.S. government to speed production of equipment necessary to test drugs to combat the virus.
However, Trump has rejected calls to actually apply the act, claiming that it gives the government too much power over the private sector. He called for companies to voluntarily provide the necessary supplies.
"General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!! FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!" Trump said in another tweet.
GM has a shuttered plant in Lordstown, Ohio, that Trump had wanted to remain open as he campaigned on a promise to revive U.S. manufacturing.
Later Trump said on Twitter that "We have just purchased many Ventilators from some wonderful companies. Names and numbers will be announced later today!"
Trump also later claimed that "Thousand of Federal Government (delivered) Ventilators found in New York storage. N.Y. must distribute NOW!"
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said his state needs tens of thousands of ventilators to respond to the escalating coronavirus pandemic.
Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday that “I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be.”