How making ventilators inspired this car company with its core business

  • The speed and scale of bringing out key medical equipment in the battle against Covid-19 has taught GM key lessons.
File photo of US President Joe Biden at a GM manufacturing facility. (Reuters)
File photo of US President Joe Biden at a GM manufacturing facility.

A number of car companies across the world had opted to either manufacture or assist in the manufacturing of key medical equipment at the peak of Covid-19 pandemic last and this year in order to fight the pandemic and its spread. The worst may possibly be behind the world but for General Motors (GM), one of the world's largest car makers, the lessons learnt from assisting ventilator manufacturing have helped its core business of making cars.

According to the Associated Press, Mary Barra - CEO of GM - revealed that assisting a maker of ventilators on the US West Coast to go large-scale in terms of production also became a lesson for the car company. Most prominently, she says it helped the company understand how to speed up the process of bringing in new electric cars to the market. She also points to how her company's management team would have previously not favoured the idea of helping a company that makes ventilators but because everyone knew everyone could require the key medical equipment, the approach was massively positive.

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The past nearly two years have been a mammoth challenge for the world and people at large. But unprecedented challenges often require unprecedented, often unorthodox, approach. GM, for instance, converted an electronics factory in Indiana to make it a hub for ventilator manufacturing. Barra says that this was done at a very quick pace and it is this speed that is now being put to use for development of newer EVs and for related software development.

GM wasn't the only car company in the US to respond to then US president Donald Trump's call to car makers to step up in the fight against Covid-19. Others like Ford, Volkswagen and Hyundai - among many more - had chipped in in various ways. And this wasn't just in the US but across the world. In India, for instance, the likes of Maruti Suzuki, MG Motor, Hyundai, Tata Motors - and others - had raised to the occasion as well.

(With inputs from AP)

First Published Date: 10 Dec 2021, 10:05 AM IST

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