Factories pivot to fight coronavirus, but challenges abound

Posted at 9:38 AM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 11:38:45-04

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors, Ford, Rolls-Royce and other companies are talking to governments about converting idled factories to make vital goods to fight the coronavirus such as ventilators and surgical masks.

On Friday, President Donald Trump said he was invoking the Korean War-era Defense Production Act, which allows the government to marshal the private sector to fight the pandemic. But he did not give examples as to how he was using it.

Experts say while possible, switching plants to new goods will be difficult and take a long time. Repurposing a factory depends on how similar the new product is to what it's already making.