by Matt Konkle
Quadratec Channel Editor
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Monday pledged to donate at least one million protective face masks per month to those in North America on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced in a statement.
FCA said it is currently installing production capacity in order to begin manufacturing the masks within the next few weeks. Initial distribution will be across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“Protecting our first responders and health care workers has never been more important," said FCA CEO Mike Manley in a company statement. "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 plans to donate the masks to police, EMTs and firefighters, as well as to hospital and health care clinic workers - many of whom are facing impending equipment shortages in the coming week. The company will work with national, regional and city authorities to ensure the donated masks are placed with those people and facilities in the most need.
The automaker, along with Ford and GM, recently shut down all of its North American production plants through the end of March in an effort to help slow the spread of coronavirus. It also announced, along with Ferrari, plans to utilize one of its Asian facilities to additionally create masks for distribution in Italy.