Ford sounds like it’s ready to step up.


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As governments work to fight the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, automakers are figuring out how they can pitch in to do their part.

Autocar first reported on Monday that the UK government has contacted various automakers with manufacturing capabilities in the country to ask for assistance in producing ventilators, medical machines that help patients breathe. Ford, Honda and Toyota each confirmed with the publication the government had been in contact over ventilator production.

Honda and Toyota did not immediately return Roadshow’s request for comment, but a Ford of Britain representative confirmed the government has been in contact with the automaker and said, “Ford has received the ventilator specification from the government and is considering production feasibility.”

Honda confirmed with Autocar it’d also been in contact with the UK government, while Toyota said there’d been no discussions yet. Toyota’s statement added the company would be “more than willing” to investigate how it can assist during the pandemic.

Ford operates three production plants in the UK and it hasn’t said where the automaker may begin ventilator production, should it give the green light.

The UK government said in a statement Monday, “Preparing for the spread of the coronavirus outbreak is a national priority and we’re calling on the manufacturing industry and all those with relevant expertise who might be able to help to come together to help the country tackle this national crisis.” It called on businesses to join together in the collective effort to halt COVID-19 in its tracks.

So far, we haven’t seen this kind of action in the US, although numerous states have taken drastic measures to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of the virus. General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler did, however, join together with the UAW to begin a task force to support production workers. Although Ford and FCA did not add details, GM told Roadshow actions will include shifting production schedules and cutting overtime to make room for extra cleaning and disinfecting.

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