DETROIT — As Ford Motor Co. executives sent home salaried workers and contemplated a wholesale shutdown of manufacturing, top officials brainstormed what they could do to tackle the worsening coronavirus crisis.
Ford has a proud history of assisting the country in times of need, converting plants to assemble tanks, planes and boats during both world wars. While a B-24 bomber can't blast away a virus, the automaker hoped the same manufacturing know-how that launched the Arsenal of Democracy could be reimagined to similar effect nearly a century later.
"We know how to make complex things, and we know how to make a lot of them," Executive Chairman Bill Ford said on an episode of the CBS show "60 Minutes" broadcast in April. "We can apply that to almost anything."