RE: Cars vs Covid | PH Footnote

RE: Cars vs Covid | PH Footnote

Monday 30th March

Cars vs Covid | Update

McLaren and Mercedes bring F1 expertise to bear in global effort to build more ventilators



When the government declared an urgent need for ventilators two weeks ago, a whole host of UK-based manufacturing firms answered the call. Now, as time progresses, we're getting a better idea of exactly what form those answers will take.

Rather than working separately, a consortium dubbed 'VentilatorChallengeUK' has come together to better channel the shared ability of its members. Companies including Airbus, BAE Systems, Ford, McLaren and Rolls-Royce are now working flat-out to fulfil a 10,000-machine order within the next couple of weeks, when the virus is predicted to peak.

By reverse-engineering an existing, off-patent device, improving its design and then optimising it for rapid mass production, the group has managed to shorten a process which can take years into one it has accomplished in just a few days.


Not every firm has revealed its specific role in the undertaking, but for its part McLaren has circled the wagons of its Automotive, F1 and Applied Technologies divisions. Combining their expertise has allowed the marque to not only assist in the production and testing of the components, but also to design bespoke trolleys onto which the ventilators can be fixed for use in clinical settings.

Mercedes F1, meanwhile, has been working with engineers from University College London to build CPAP machines. These Continuous Positive Airway Pressure units help patients receive oxygen without the need for a more invasive ventilator, but are in equally short supply. Around 40 trial CPAP devices have already been delivered to London hospitals, with the potential for Mercedes to produce up to 1,000 per day if they function as expected.

Other manufacturers continue to offer help in whatever ways they can, with JLR providing over 100 press and test cars -including dozens of new Defenders - to help the British Red Cross "support those who are isolated or vulnerable." It's a policy the firm is replicating across Europe, with fleets of vehicles being provided in some of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic.



ORIGINAL STORY - 26.03.20

Despite factories around the world ceasing production, plenty of manufacturers - and their employees - have not simply turned off the lights and gone home to wait things out. While the severity, longevity and reach of the damage to the industry remains unclear, in the short term its collective focus remains on the protection of life rather than profits. The fight against Coronavirus and its knock-on effects may be one of the greatest challenges the modern world has ever faced, but it remains important to highlight the positive actions being taken in the face of it. Hearteningly, there are plenty of those to report.

This doesn't necessarily mean converting facilities to produce medical supplies, either. Ferrari vowing to continue paying its employees throughout the shutdown and Bentley offering up its Bentayga press fleet to run a 'Meals on 22-inch Wheels' service are just two examples of the ways in which manufacturers are attempting to support their local communities on a daily basis.

For others, with larger operations and more extensive parts catalogues, more direct contributions to front-line services are possible. Fiat has begun converting one of its Chinese plants to produce up to one million protective masks per month, and Ford has already delivered the first thousand of the 75,000 transparent face shields it expects to be able to make a week.


The Blue Oval has also teamed up with 3M and General Electric to devise a portable ventilator that can be quickly mass produced using existing components. Per the design, the fans intended for the F-150's optional ventilated seats are paired with the battery from a cordless power tool and a medical-grade filter to create the kind of life-saving device which hospitals so desperately need.

Tesla boss Elon Musk, meanwhile, took a more immediate approach, buying over 1,000 ventilators from China and having them brought to his home state of California. Such quick results are unlikely to be seen across the board, however, with the acquisition of the expertise, components and production lines to build the required resources no mean feat in itself. That's a problem being tackled by a host of UK-based firms, including a number of F1 teams, McLaren Automotive and Nissan, who are working with the government to try and help.

Then there's Ineos, the UK chemicals giant which was recently announced as Mercedes' principal F1 sponsor, and has declared its intention to build its own utilitarian Defender substitute, the Grenadier. It plans to construct two new factories in just 10 days, one at its Newton Aycliffe site near Middlesbrough and one in Germany. Once complete, these will produce up to one million bottles of hand sanitizer a month, which will then either be sold to the public or made available to the NHS for free.


It hasn't all been good news; automotive employees have been among those to lose their lives to the virus, several manufacturers have already announced redundancies - an acceleration of a concerning recent trend - and the effectiveness of proposed government bailouts has yet to be ascertained. More can always be done, but for every sad story and disappointing decision, there are people making moves to help alleviate some of the suffering that the situation has caused.

Of course, this covers only a small portion of the action being taken across the sector. If there are any manufacturers, suppliers, dealers or mechanics that you feel we've missed out above, then feel free to call attention to their work in the comments below.



Author
Discussion

HorneyMX5

Original Poster:

4,655 posts

102 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
McLaren and Ford are working with one of my clients to produce ventilators. Amazing what happens when people pull together in a crisis.

ducnick

982 posts

195 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
I see that the government has awarded the ventilator contract to the tax exile Dyson company rather than any of these British based engineering companies or the Oxford Uni project.
Thats a bit like the Air Ministry in 1936 awarding the contract to build Spitfires to Lord Haw-Haw and his friends at Mercedes-Benz.

swisstoni

8,772 posts

231 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
Well not quite, they are making a few thousand of them for nothing, on top of the numbers the govt has ordered.

After all this, I will have a Plus List and a Minus List.

Ford have been very active in this country and of course at home in the effort to create ventilators. McLaren also.

Wetherspoons however, will never see 1p from me ever again and I hope his suppliers, which he is currently not paying, will see it the same way.

VanquishRider

264 posts

104 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
Same as the Rich Company owners who are laying off their staff rather than paying them.

They reckon that Branson is worth £4.1 Billion and if he paid all Virgin staff £500 a week for 8 weeks would make him worth £4.064 billion. That's the equivalent of me being worth £20 and donating it costing me 17.6 pence to pay my staff for 8 weeks.

There will be a backlash for these billionaires.

I have no issue with capitalism. But there is a time when they should spend that money in a useful and beneficial way. That time is now...

Piha

2,411 posts

44 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
VanquishRider said:
Same as the Rich Company owners who are laying off their staff rather than paying them.

They reckon that Branson is worth £4.1 Billion and if he paid all Virgin staff £500 a week for 8 weeks would make him worth £4.064 billion. That's the equivalent of me being worth £20 and donating it costing me 17.6 pence to pay my staff for 8 weeks.

There will be a backlash for these billionaires.

I have no issue with capitalism. But there is a time when they should spend that money in a useful and beneficial way. That time is now...
Good post.

Lambo FirstBlood

730 posts

131 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
VanquishRider said:
Same as the Rich Company owners who are laying off their staff rather than paying them.

They reckon that Branson is worth £4.1 Billion and if he paid all Virgin staff £500 a week for 8 weeks would make him worth £4.064 billion. That's the equivalent of me being worth £20 and donating it costing me 17.6 pence to pay my staff for 8 weeks.

There will be a backlash for these billionaires.

I have no issue with capitalism. But there is a time when they should spend that money in a useful and beneficial way. That time is now...
That is pretty abhorrent for someone with that level of wealth.

Back in the real world, though, sadly, I have laid off most of my employees this week. Its the only way to make the business survive - almost all of our customers are closed. With the furlough scheme, the government will reimburse me 80% of their salaries (not sure when as its not yet up and running). I need to cash flow the pay roll which I can afford to do and I have also agreed to top up the discretionary 20% for 3 months.

I'm worth a small fraction of RB! Devils's advocate but do we know Branson isn't doing the same?

Back on Topic - I love the idea of Ford, GE and 3M coming up with a ventilator solution with some of their existing products. It's stories like that that are the very thin but no less bright silver lining in our current tumultuous times.

wab172uk

1,594 posts

179 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
swisstoni said:
Wetherspoons however, will never see 1p from me ever again and I hope his suppliers, which he is currently not paying, will see it the same way.
I'm guessing you're one of the Hot heads you read a headline then get angry, without actually seeing what he said?

He said that his staff should claim the 80% PAYE that the government is putting in place. But he understands if any members of staff take a job at Tesco.

I fail to see what he has done wrong? He's said what all business are saying to their staff. Remember he was forced to close. He's not responsible for how fast (or slow) the Government rolls out the 80% PAYE scheme.

swisstoni

8,772 posts

231 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
wab172uk said:
swisstoni said:
Wetherspoons however, will never see 1p from me ever again and I hope his suppliers, which he is currently not paying, will see it the same way.
I'm guessing you're one of the Hot heads you read a headline then get angry, without actually seeing what he said?

He said that his staff should claim the 80% PAYE that the government is putting in place. But he understands if any members of staff take a job at Tesco.

I fail to see what he has done wrong? He's said what all business are saying to their staff. Remember he was forced to close. He's not responsible for how fast (or slow) the Government rolls out the 80% PAYE scheme.
You have a point, now that I’ve seen the video rather than gone off reports. (Something that annoys me ironically).

However his refusal to pay suppliers, who will have their own bills and staff to think about seems less understandable.

Krikkit

17,651 posts

133 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
Piha said:
VanquishRider said:
Same as the Rich Company owners who are laying off their staff rather than paying them.

They reckon that Branson is worth £4.1 Billion and if he paid all Virgin staff £500 a week for 8 weeks would make him worth £4.064 billion. That's the equivalent of me being worth £20 and donating it costing me 17.6 pence to pay my staff for 8 weeks.

There will be a backlash for these billionaires.

I have no issue with capitalism. But there is a time when they should spend that money in a useful and beneficial way. That time is now...
Good post.
Good post but the figures aren't quite right. Even assuming all the staff the Virgin group employ it wouldn't be more than a couple of hundred million sunk though. Just depends if he actually has that kind of money available.

wab172uk

1,594 posts

179 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
swisstoni said:
wab172uk said:
swisstoni said:
Wetherspoons however, will never see 1p from me ever again and I hope his suppliers, which he is currently not paying, will see it the same way.
I'm guessing you're one of the Hot heads you read a headline then get angry, without actually seeing what he said?

He said that his staff should claim the 80% PAYE that the government is putting in place. But he understands if any members of staff take a job at Tesco.

I fail to see what he has done wrong? He's said what all business are saying to their staff. Remember he was forced to close. He's not responsible for how fast (or slow) the Government rolls out the 80% PAYE scheme.
You have a point, now that I’ve seen the video rather than gone off reports. (Something that annoys me ironically).

However his refusal to pay suppliers, who will have their own bills and staff to think about seems less understandable.
Again, slight exaggeration from the press, as per usual. He hasn't refused. He's written to suppliers asking for delayed payment.
Abstract of email below for reference

In the email to suppliers JD Wetherspoon said it was asking for a moratorium on payments “until the pubs reopen, at which point we intend to clear outstanding payments, within a short timeframe”.

“We understand that this puts significant pressure on our suppliers, but we are kindly asking for your assistance during this very difficult period. A number of our suppliers have already offered assistance and we would be most grateful for your cooperation as well,” the email states.

So not quite the headline that's enraging people. Tim Martin upset a lot of remoaning types during the Brexit debate. I guess they've been waiting to have a go at him. Why let fact get in the way of trying to destroy his business. A business that does employ a lot of people.

Business all over the world will be in the same dilemma. Invoices due, but are maybe not in a position to pay, as their invoices are also due. And generally the guy at the bottom has to take the hit. Hopefully the Government will ensure these companies stay solvent until this all blows over.

I'm self employed and have invoices pending. If the offices of those companies close down, I probably won't get paid till all the companies go back to work. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but not much I can do.

robsprocket

62 posts

130 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
VanquishRider said:
Same as the Rich Company owners who are laying off their staff rather than paying them.

They reckon that Branson is worth £4.1 Billion and if he paid all Virgin staff £500 a week for 8 weeks would make him worth £4.064 billion. That's the equivalent of me being worth £20 and donating it costing me 17.6 pence to pay my staff for 8 weeks.

There will be a backlash for these billionaires.

I have no issue with capitalism. But there is a time when they should spend that money in a useful and beneficial way. That time is now...
Exactly, once you have a private island etc what else is there? What's he saving his money for? I think he (along with many others) think it's a competition 'whoever dies with the most money wins'.



MarJay

2,130 posts

127 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
There is a difference between being reputedly 'worth' an amount and having it in liquid cash. If you have it in investments they'll have all crashed anyway. Also as far as I understand it, Branson does not own a lot of the Virgin businesses, he merely lends the brand to them who pay him licensing fees.

Don't get me wrong, I can't stand the guy but I can totally see why he's not just giving away £50 notes to anyone who has a Virgin nametag.

After_Shock

8,727 posts

172 months

Thursday 26th March
quotequote all
MarJay said:
There is a difference between being reputedly 'worth' an amount and having it in liquid cash.
Exactly, always laugh when the annual 'rich lists' come out, reality they are not even a remote reflection on peoples actual worth.

If they brought out a 'cash in the bank' rich list it would make rather eye opening reading, but naturally that would never be revealed. Would imagine an awful lot of 'rich' are not actually able to spend very much at all in relation to what they are worth on paper.

RemarkLima

809 posts

164 months

Friday 27th March
quotequote all
After_Shock said:
MarJay said:
There is a difference between being reputedly 'worth' an amount and having it in liquid cash.
Exactly, always laugh when the annual 'rich lists' come out, reality they are not even a remote reflection on peoples actual worth.

If they brought out a 'cash in the bank' rich list it would make rather eye opening reading, but naturally that would never be revealed. Would imagine an awful lot of 'rich' are not actually able to spend very much at all in relation to what they are worth on paper.
Just as a aside to this, did anyone read the article about Gadhafi's wealth, and that of Putin now - they, in real terms, make the rich list seem like paupers! Genuinely incredible.

Here's one article I found:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwindurgy/2011/10/25...

These types have the resources and wealth to help but absolute power is worth more than gold wink

Sandpit Steve

511 posts

26 months

Friday 27th March
quotequote all
HorneyMX5 said:
McLaren and Ford are working with one of my clients to produce ventilators. Amazing what happens when people pull together in a crisis.
Yes, it's been heartwarming to see a number of technology, engineering and manufacturing companies come to the aid of the country, indeed the world, at a time of crisis.

Hopefully enough people are paying attention to the companies involved, and while now isn't the time to be overdoing the PR aspect, it would be good to see them rewarded by customers once the crisis is over. It might be an idea for the government to compile a 'heroes list' of companies who stepped up to the plate.

After_Shock

8,727 posts

172 months

Friday 27th March
quotequote all
RemarkLima said:
Just as a aside to this, did anyone read the article about Gadhafi's wealth, and that of Putin now - they, in real terms, make the rich list seem like paupers! Genuinely incredible.

Here's one article I found:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwindurgy/2011/10/25...

These types have the resources and wealth to help but absolute power is worth more than gold wink
Many reports do say Putin is by far the richest person ever to have existed but its all an unknown. Having lived in the middle east for many years and knowing how the companies operate in those parts they do not declare accounts to anyone except themselves internally, no doubt the rulers do the same so who knows what anyone is worth. Could be said for numerous African countries as well.

silentbrown

5,343 posts

68 months

Monday 30th March
quotequote all
wab172uk said:
He said that his staff should claim the 80% PAYE that the government is putting in place.
Really. How?

Unless I've totally misunderstood, the 80% is claimed by (and paid to) employers, who then pay staff "as usual", but possibly at a reduced rate. Employees basically get a choice between accepting furlough and being laid off.

FiF

37,047 posts

203 months

Monday 30th March
quotequote all
Tend to agree that there are some outwardly wealthy people who haven't covered themselves in glory, but then as others have said there are others who, contrary to the image presented, don't have two 10p coins to rub together.

Also agree there should be a role call of those who have stepped up above and beyond.

The way organisations have worked flexibly, intelligently and rapidly outside their normal sphere epitomises what this nation is good at. Folks who continually snipe and talk it down need to recognise this and necks need to be wound in.

I can't comment on the effectiveness of me never giving 'Spoons a penny in the future as I've never set foot inside the place, ever.

One thought, time will tell how necessary all this activity is, ventilators, CPAP devices and so on, but if we get a grip on things these must be an export opportunity. Or am I being too mercenary. As long as any revenue doesn't go in Branson's direction.

Andy83n

76 posts

14 months

Monday 30th March
quotequote all
ducnick said:
I see that the government has awarded the ventilator contract to the tax exile Dyson company rather than any of these British based engineering companies or the Oxford Uni project.
Thats a bit like the Air Ministry in 1936 awarding the contract to build Spitfires to Lord Haw-Haw and his friends at Mercedes-Benz.
'Dyson' Ventilators being built in the UK by UK staff. Why does it matter if their head office is now in singapore.

Where do Mercedes, Ford et al have their head offices?


stumpage

1,777 posts

178 months

Monday 30th March
quotequote all
Lots of machine shops across the country have been flat out over the weekend to meet the deadline.........well to out pace the virus. In getting small batches of ventilators complete for sign off.

It has been impressive how quick the manufacturing industry has responded and some of collaborations between companies is brilliant. We are working with 2 F1 teams who are working together to get production off the line.

I know this virus is horrid but the buzz in the industry is brilliant. Its amazing how fast we can move when the red tape is thrown in the bin.