Ford Motor Co. releases return to work video amid coronavirus pandemic
Detroit Free Press
Bill Ford Jr. released a statement on Thanksgiving Eve that spotlighted Ford Motor Co.’s rapid response to the coronavirus pandemic over the past eight months with a promise to do more — donate 100 million face masks throughout the country to help people protect themselves.
“People often ask me whether we would make a profit from the PPE production,” he wrote in a post on the online LinkedIn professional network around 3 p.m.
“I said I didn’t know and it didn’t matter, we just needed to go like hell to help those in need. Now I can answer that question. Today, I am proud to say we are reinvesting all of our profits to continue the fight against COVID. Our goal is to produce 100 million masks and give them to people and organizations in need across the country.”
Bill Ford Jr., the executive chairman at Ford, listens during a press conference at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. The press conference was about the 2021 Ford F-150, the expansion of the Dearborn Truck Plant and the all electric F-150 coming in 2022. (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)
Ford cleared approximately $50 million in profit from its government contract to make ventilators this year to replenish the national stockpile, in addition to small sales of personal protective equipment (PPE), including isolation gowns, said Mark Truby, chief communications officer at Ford.
In addition to filling the government contract order for ventilators, the company has made face masks, face shields, gowns and respirators. Most of the face shields were donated to first responders and health care workers throughout the nation.
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations climbing in Michigan and nationally, state and federal health officials have asked people to stay home and avoid travel.
Bill Ford felt now is a time to send a message of hope.
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Ford continues the COVID-19 fight with its mask pledge, as well as funding new innovations that include starting production of child-sized medical masks next month, said Mike Levine, Ford North America product communications manager.
So far, Ford has donated nearly 40 million masks of the 100 million pledged to at-risk communities across all 50 states, coordinating through the nonprofit Ford Fund network that includes the American Red Cross, veterans groups and schools. In addition, people can also go to local Ford dealers for masks.
Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. poses for a photo in Michigan Central Station in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood in Detroit on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Ford recently purchased the long-vacant train station with plans to renovate and make it a hub of a campus for advanced automotive technology. (Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)
Bill Ford, as executive chairman of the company, had declined to discuss the value of government contracts or focus on potential profit made off the crisis. He has said that the iconic automaker represents commitment to country in times of need, as occurred during World War II.
The executive, who hosted President Donald Trump in May when he visited a Ford plant in Ypsilanti to observe the making of PPE materials, said in his letter released on Wednesday:
“As Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded again how grateful we are for the communities where we live, work and do business. For 117 years, Ford has taken the approach to give back to the communities that have given us so much. And that has never perhaps been more true than in 2020. Earlier in the year, we stopped all vehicle production and converted several facilities to make critical PPE. We made more than 87 million pieces, and this work continues.
“People often ask me whether we would make a profit from the PPE production. I said I didn’t know and it didn’t matter, we just needed to go like hell to help those in need. Now I can answer that question. Today, I am proud to say we are reinvesting all of our profits to continue the fight against COVID. Our goal is to produce 100 million masks and give them to people and organizations in need across the country.
“So far in the past few weeks, the Ford Fund, Ford’s philanthropic arm, has distributed more than 40 million masks to schools, libraries, police and fire departments and non-profit organizations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. We have 60 million to go as we enter the holiday season as the pandemic grows in many areas.
“We are in this together and Ford is proud to play our part. Happy Thanksgiving.”
To date, Levine said, Ford has made 20 million face shields and 1.4 million washable isolation gowns. Also, Ford has made 50,000 patient ventilators and more than 32,000 powered air-purifying respirators in a collaboration with 3M.
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Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at 313-222-6512or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.
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