FCA plans to convert a plant in China to make and donate face masks for first responders and healthcare workers in the United States, the automaker confirmed Sunday.
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic comes after President Donald Trump on Friday invoked the Defense Production Act that allows the government to call upon private businesses to address defense needs. Experts have expressed concerns over a shortage of personal protective equipment for health-care workers, ventilators and other medical equipment because of the respiratory illness. Several automakers have said they are looking to help.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley in a letter to employees over the weekend revealed the company's plan, indicating that conversations on converting one of the automaker's plants to make the masks would begin Monday.
"We are working through the protocols to start production in the coming weeks and ultimately produce over a million face masks per month to donate to first responders and health care providers," he wrote.
Fiat Chrysler also is working with ventilator manufacturer Siare Engineering International Group in Italy, the epicenter for COVID-19 in Europe. FCA's engineers and manufacturing teams along with Ferrari are helping to more than double Siare's productivity, Manley wrote.