Fiat Chrysler to make millions of new protective face masks

Move follows President Trump's signing of Defense Production Act

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Last Friday, President Trump said he will use the Defense Production Act to combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic and enlist companies in this healthcare crisis and Monday the first official fruits of move were revealed when Fiat Chrysler announced it would manufacture and donate more than 1 million protective face masks per month.

In a press release, the automaker said production capacity is being installed this week and the company will start manufacturing face masks in the next few weeks.

 AMID CORONAVIRUS, CHINA BECOMES FACE MASK-MAKING JUGGERNAUT

Protecting our first responders and health care workers has never been more important," FIat Chrystler CEO Mike Manley said. “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.”

Yesterday on Twitter, Trump challenged the Big Three automakers to pick up the baton to help out by increasing the production of ventilators.

The initial coronavirus outbreak in China took its toll on the world's supply of masks. Also contributing to the shortage in the United States is the widespread buying of masks by nervous citizens -- despite recommendations from the CDC against buying facemasks for healthy people to use.

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The face masks are to be donated by Fiat Chrystler to police, EMTs, firefighters, to workers in hospitals and health care clinics. The car company said that this action is the first in a "multifaceted global program being developed by the company . . .  to support the global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic."

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