Ford Pinto Case Study
Ford Pinto was a compact car produced by the motor company in the year 1970 and it competed in the United States market for small cars. However, a controversy regarding the safety of Ford Pinto’s car gas tank design emerged and this affected the legacy of Pinto.
Key factors surrounding the Ford Pinto case
One of the key factors surrounding the Ford Pinto case is the fuel tank controversy. The controversy had allegations that Pinto had a structural design that made its fuel tank filler neck to break. Moreover, the structure could lead to puncturing of the fuel tank through a collision in the rear end.
The other factor surrounding the case is the allegations of critics regarding the car’s lack of reinforcing structure hence making the car unsafe. Despite being aware of the flawed design, Ford did not pay for redesigning but instead decided to pay for the lawsuits (Miller, Vandome & McBrewster, 2010)
Ford’s current mission is to provide products and services that are outstanding, these services and products should help improve people’s life and welfare. Ford also aims at making a small car that is cheap. To achieve this mission, Ford believes that the company is more like a passionate and diverse family known globally.
Ford believed that paying off for lawsuits could result in a much lesser overall costs than recalling and designing the Ford’s car. It is also evident that Ford lied by stating that Pinto did not crash-test which led to limitation of damages that were liable to Ford (Samuel and Weir, 1999). The ironical Part is that despite what happened, the Ford Pinto is still around.
The role of people such as Ford’s student engineer, Lee Iacocca is worth noting. Lee stated that Ford knew that Pinto had faulty gas tanks but did not take any initiative to tackle the problem. The products objective was to be true subcompact car in terms of size and weight. The other objective was to have a low cost of ownership in terms of initial price, reliability, fuel consumption and serviceability. Lastly is clear product superiority in terms of features, comfort, appearance, performance and handling.
The profits also played a major role regarding the court’s decision. This is because Ford’s failure to fix the problem was out of concern for profits and not lack of knowledge. There was a great amount of profits made since the introduction of Pinto model (Birsch and Fielder, 1994).
It seems honesty was not one of the guiding principles of Ford in the 1970s. This is because Ford was not honest about his accomplishments and the nature of Pinto. He clearly knew that people’s lives were in danger and did not take any step to correct or fix the problem.
My team members believe that honesty is the best policy. It was appropriate for Ford to tell people what he intended to accomplish regarding the implementation of Pinto. Moreover, Ford should have told people what he was willing to sacrifice at the expense of accomplishing the intended objective. However, some team members also agree with Ford since they believe, the objective of any kind of business should be to make as much profits as possible (Samuel, 1999). The same case applies to Ford in the 1970s since his aim was to make profits at the expense of putting people’s lives at risk.
Birsch, D., & Fielder, J. H. (1994) The Ford Pinto case: a study in applied ethics, business and technology. SUNY Press.
Miller, F. P., Vandome, A. F., & McBrewster, J. (2010) Ford Pinto. VDM Publishing House Ltd.
Samuel, A. E., & Weir, J. (1999) Introduction to engineering design: modeling, synthesis and problem solving. Butterworth- Heinemann.