Bloomberg reports that GM CEO Mary Barra first introduced the idea of using automotive factories to produce the respirating medical devices, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow. A Ford spokesperson said that the company "stands ready to help the administration in any way we can, including the possibility of producing ventilators and other equipment," per Automotive News.
On Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk then promised to do as much after a "fan" said he was being "an idiot" and demanded that he start making ventilators immediately.
But Musk also questioned another Twitter user who said that hospitals already have a shortage, adding, "Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly."
The billionaire tech mogul previously received national attention after he tweeted that pandemic-related panic is "dumb." In yet another recent post, Musk echoed a similar sentiment.
"Exactly," he wrote in response to a list of various info about coronavirus, including China's report that their country has no new infections and claims that Italy's death rates are "leveling out." Meanwhile, a conflicting statistic from Johns Hopkins University recently showed record-high daily mortalities in Italy on March 18, per the BBC.
"My guess is that the panic will cause more harm than the virus, if that hasn’t happened already," Musk said.
While Tesla has reduced its work force, Ford, GM and Fiat-Chrysler, aka "The Big Three" Detroit automakers, have announced plans to temporarily close all factories.