Bombers Then. Ventilators Now. Ford Motors Onward.

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Spotlight on Ford

Ford has never been one to back away from a global crisis. During the First World War, the company’s newly-opened River Rouge plant produced patrol boats for the U.S. Navy before turning out a single Model T. A generation later, the same Michigan plant was manufacturing tanks, jeeps and planes at a record pace to help America mobilize for a second global conflict.

Even as the war raged, public health was a major focus at Ford. In 1941, the company developed a low-cost portable incubator that dramatically reduced infant mortality in remote rural areas. During a polio outbreak in the late 1940s, an iron lung redesigned for children and produced by Ford saved thousands of lives.

Today, Ford is again on the front lines of a global struggle. After pausing virtually all automotive manufacturing worldwide to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Ford joined with 3M and GE Healthcare among other companies to mass-produce personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and air-purifying respirators for frontline healthcare workers. The company is also working with the United Auto Workers Union to design and assemble plastic face shields for healthcare personnel, first responders, retail clerks, warehouse workers and others at heightened risk of infection.

Stepping up in times of national and global need, through philanthropy, volunteerism, innovative R&D, joint ventures and public-private sector partnerships, has long been integral to the Ford brand. It’s all part of a remarkable and deeply moving historical pattern.

“More than 75 yeas ago, the grandparents of those working on our auto lines today switched from rolling out coupes to rolling out B24 bombers,” says CEO Jim Hackett. “Now, two generations later, their grandchildren are rolling out ventilators.”

Make no mistake: Ford isn’t the only major automaker to step up in the pandemic. Most have likewise shut down vehicle production, funded public health initiatives and liberalized their loan repayment programs. But in its aggressive and visionary approach to crisis, Ford is out in front, living up to its slogan, Go Further.

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About Brand Acts of Kindness® 

Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.

About Carpenter Group

Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.