Italian automakers Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler are in discussion with the nation’s biggest ventilator manufacturer to help increase production of the life-saving machines that are urgently required in the coronavirus crisis, company officials stated on Thursday.
Italy is at the epicenter of the pandemic and its government has started a big expansion of the number of intensive care beds, many of which will need ventilators to keep patients alive by taking over breathing functions.
Siare Engineering located in northern Italy, where deaths are almost 3,000 and climbing increasingly, is in talks with Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari and Italian parts maker Magneti Marelli to make some parts, source others and to possibly assist with the assembly of ventilators.
Gianluca Preziosa, Siare’s chief executive, stated the two industries share some expertise, with both the ventilator business and automakers depending heavily on electronics along with pneumatics.
“We’re discussing with Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari and Marelli to try to understand if they can lend us a hand in this process for the electronics part,” he informed Reuters.
Rome has asked Siare to increase its monthly production of ventilators from 160 to 500 following the virus crisis which has left the country’s healthcare system in acute distress, Preziosa said.
A spokesman for Exor, parent of both FCA and Ferrari, stated that meetings with Siare happened on Thursday to study the feasibility of the idea and that a decision was expected in the coming hours.
He stated that two main options were being thought about: either to help Siare engineer a capacity boost at its plant, with the support of technicians provided by FCA and Ferrari, or outsource production of ventilator parts to the automakers’ facilities.
A source knowledgeable with the matter stated that Ferrari would be ready to start producing ventilator parts in its well-known Maranello headquarters, which lies near to the Siare factory, but that the luxury automaker had yet to make a final decision.
Siare’s Preziosa stated that another benefit of partnering with automakers was their purchasing power, making them more likely to get parts that his small firm was having a hard time to secure amid coronavirus-related disruption to worldwide supply chains.