May 5, 2020

How the Motor Industry Helped in the Coronavirus Crisis

How the Motor Industry Helped in the Coronavirus Crisis Header Image

Businesses all over the world are finding ways to ‘do their bit’ to provide assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those operating in the motor industry are no exception. Thanks to the skills and knowledge held by teams at vehicle manufacturers, a number of such companies have been able to refocus their efforts on building equipment for hospitals, to help in the treatment of those who have contracted the virus. Read on to find out which motor companies have gotten involved.

Medical Ventilator Manufacturers in the UK

To help meet the need for more coronavirus ventilators, the Ventilator Challenge UK scheme has been set up by the CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Dick Elsy. A number of industrial, technology and engineering firms have joined, for the purpose of producing medical ventilators for the UK. From the motor industry, companies include:

  • Ford
  • Rolls Royce
  • Vauxhall
  • Haas F1 Team
  • McLaren
  • Petronas
  • Red Bull Racing
  • BWT Racing
  • Renault F1 Team
  • ROKiT Williams Racing
  • Williams Advanced Engineering

Each of these has donated the time and the efforts of their staff to the cause, with a view to supplying the NHS with much-needed ventilators. The UK Government has in fact now ordered more than 150,000 units from the Ventilator Challenge UK group. According to Elsy, the current target is to produce 1,500 units per week across four UK production sites, in Oxfordshire, Broughton, Dagenham, and Woking.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Italian-American multinational corporation, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), has resolved to produce one million facemasks every month. These are to be distributed throughout Canada, the US, and Mexico to hospitals, clinics, Emergency Medical Technicians, police officers, firefighters, and other first responders.

In addition to this, FCA’s engineers and manufacturing teams in Italy are providing assistance to medical supply company Siare Engineering, to make respirators for hospitals there.​


Elon Musk, the owner of American electric vehicle company Tesla, pledged to donate hundreds of coronavirus ventilators to healthcare facilities in New York as of the end of March 2020. New York is one of the worst-hit areas in the world; where 18,000+ of the 68,000+ US deaths caused by coronavirus have occurred (at the time of writing).

Musk has stated that ventilators would be given away “whether we buy them or build them”, and is known to have purchased at least 1,255 for donation, from three US-approved manufacturers.

General Motors

After President Trump asked motor companies to help produce equipment to tackle the pandemic, General Motors (GM) entered into a contract with the US Department of Health and Human Services to build 30,000 coronavirus ventilators. Partnering up with Ventec Life Systems, a medical device company, GM have since set about producing Ventec V+ Pro ventilators.

With more than 1,000 GM employees designated to the project, as of the end of April 600 of these ventilators have been distributed. GM has declared that “almost half the order” will be distributed by the end of June, and the further 15,000 by the end of August. GM has also said they are willing and able to continue production after August if it’s required.

As the world’s governments and medical bodies continue to tackle this global pandemic, companies and individuals of all kinds have resolved to do what they can to help. Whether this is volunteering to deliver food and supplies to vulnerable people, or it’s in the creation of hand sanitizer or coronavirus ventilators, every effort goes a long way toward combating COVID-19.

We must thank everyone involved in fighting coronavirus while we look forward to the end of the crisis, and think of the brighter days ahead. For some post-lockdown inspiration, take a look at our blog exploring the top 5 UK drives to do as soon as we can.