***UPDATE: MARCH 27: FCA says the first machinery has been delivered and installed with supply and donation coming on stream in the coming weeks.***
Fiat Chrysler is stepping in to help those at the front line of the coronavirus pandemic by manufacturing and donating more than 1 million protective face masks per month. The automaker says its setting up production capacity now and the company plans to start manufacturing face masks in the coming weeks. They will be initially distributed across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
FCA says it will donate the protective face gear 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. Commenting on this initiative
, FCA CEO Mike Manley said: “Protecting our 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 marshalled 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.”
FCA will be working through national, regional and city authorities to ensure that the donated face masks are being directed to the people and facilities in the most immediate need. The company will disclose further actions related to the fight against the coronavirus in the coming days.
Other automakers including Ford, GM and Tesla are also contributing to efforts to produce more protective gear for those on the front lines and life-saving equipment for COVID-19 patients.