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As appeared in the Detroit Press
ERIC D. LAWRENCE | DETROIT FREE PRESS | 7:05 pm EDT March 23, 2020
Fiat Chrysler to make 1M face masks for first responders and health-care workers.
More than one million additional protective face masks per month will be coming to the fight against the coronavirus in North America, courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the company announced Monday.
FCA said it would make and donate the face masks to first responders and health-care workers on the front lines against COVID-19, for initial distribution across the United States, Canada and Mexico in the coming weeks. Production capacity is being installed this week, FCA said in its news release.
“The face masks are to be donated by FCA to police, EMTs and firefighters, as well as to workers in hospitals and health care clinics. This action is the first of a multifaceted global program being developed by the company through applying manufacturing, supply chain and engineering expertise to support the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic,” FCA said.
The company has also been involved in talks through its parent company, Exor, to possibly assist with ventilator production in Italy, which has been hit hard by the disease. Those talks echo discussions involving General Motors and Ford in the United States.
FCA CEO Mike Manley said protecting 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 marshaled 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.”
Specific details on production of the masks was not available. Earlier in the day Monday, the company released this statement:
“The fastest way we could get relief to U.S. first responders and health care workers was to use one of our operational plants. So, we are quickly converting one of our China plants until the U.S. plants are back up and running.”
The company, along with GM, Ford and other automakers, has announced plans to shutter plants for the time being as the virus continues to spread.
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