President Donald Trump has ordered General Motors to make ventilators under the Defense Production Act hours after criticizing the company for not acting quickly enough to produce the devices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Korean War-era statute can force certain American companies to produce materials that are in short supply in the face of the growing outbreak.
The order comes hours after GM announced plans to build critical-care ventilators with Ventec Life Systems at one of the automaker’s component plants in Indiana.
The order does not change General Motors’ previously announced plans or schedule to produce the ventilators, according to GM spokesman Jim Cain. Earlier, the companies said they were expecting to begin shipping as early as next month.
Trump, in a statement from the White House, said the action “will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.”
“Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course,” he said.
GM, in an emailed statement, did not directly address Trump invoking the act. It reiterated that employees with Ventec, GM and their supply base “have been working around the clock for over a week to meet this urgent need.”
“Our commitment to build Ventec’s high-quality critical care ventilator, VOCSN, has never wavered,” GM said. “The…
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