Ford Pinto Case Study and Executive Summary

Semon Knudsen argued that Ford should focus its attention on the more lucrative medium and larger vehicles. The success of the Mustang elevated Iacocca’s status and ideas and eventually forced Knudsen out. Testing proved the Pinto was not the safest vehicle however Ford lobbied and argued that accidents and fatalities were an assumed risk of driving. Also Ford felt the public wanted to maintain an inexpensive product and that extra safety features, though only an additional $11 per car, would inflate the base price substantially.

Ford’s mission consists of the company relevant and profitable in the future. This mission still holds true today. In the ‘Ford Pinto Case Study’, it is very clear that the management of Ford and the engineers did not aim to produce an unsafe product, and that more than likely the result of their product primarily came from the speedy design and production schedule of the Ford Pinto. During a time period in which the government safety standards of today were not in place, Ford was not obligated to stick to the safety standards in question regarding the Ford Pinto.

This, more than likely, contributed to the business decision made by Ford management to produce, market, and sell the Ford Pinto. Additionally, the faulty cost-benefit analysis played a role as well. However, in my estimation, Ford management endangers the integrity of its own safety practices for the small sake of profit. Not only did Ford strongly disregard the industry safety standard for rear-end impact testing on the Pinto, but willing to prefer to issue its customers to the possibility of injury or death in their quest for a share of the small car market.

Ford’s ethical perspective was in line with that of Utilitarianism, to which the decision made serves the greater amount of good for those affected by the decision, and views its actions as having no instinctive value even when considering the obvious consequences. Ford had several options at its disposal to prevent, minimize, and at least warn its customers of the possible harm that could be associated with the Pinto. Regardless of these options, Ford decided not to mention the potential for death or harm to its customers or the general public.

Fords reluctance to do so was possibly due to the potential negative reaction the Pinto may have received from the general public During the 1970’s the mission was to make smaller cars that were affordable for the American people and to stay ahead of the German and Japanese small cars. Ford didn’t have any concern on the lives of the American people, only to compete with its competitors for being the first to manufacture a cheap automobile for $2,000, regardless of how safe the vehicle was and how many lives it took.

Ford was looking to stay ahead of the game in the small car industry so that it didn’t lose out to the German or Japanese vehicles. The Ford Motor company was looking at a cheaply made vehicle for the American people to buy. They purposefully overlooked all safety concerns when producing this vehicle. If they wanted to stay ahead of the competition regardless of the impact on the American lives. Ford didn’t have any safety principles or organizational culture in regards to the American people only financial concerns of the American people.

In this case, the Pinto was an unethical decision based on the potential small car market from foreign automobile makers, especially Germany and Japan. By ignoring the additional cost of $11 more for a safe tank, it cost Ford more in the long run if they would have if added the extra cost of installing the safer tank than ignoring the millions of dollars later. If they would have put the $11 fix to the gas tank, they would have been in the number one spot and lives would have been spared. In my opinion, Ford was making a cheap automobile to be on top of the small car industry over all other automobile makers, domestic and foreign.

In the team discussion about the pinto case was unanimous. Everyone agreed about having the $11 safe tank in the cars for the safety of the individual purchasing the vehicles and that in the long run, the company would have saved millions of dollars and the embarrassment of the legal issues. Everyone agreed that the Ford Motor Company should have replaced the gas tank part that would have saved so many lives. Even though this would have caused more time and money, the management of the company would not have been compromised by the company’s ethics.

Gregory mentioned, “Since the testing of the cars, the company knew that there was a problem with the gas tanks, but yet they ignored the problem to make sure that the product was out on the market on time”. “The Ford Motor Company just wanted to stay ahead of the game, from Japan and Germany. The company did not care for the safety of the people buying the cars, just the profits”, stated Robbin. These comments were the key point of the Pinto case. ? REFERENCES ADA. gov, http://www. ada. gov/pubs/ada. htm, referenced March 31, 2011 SarbansOxleylaw. com, http://www. soxlaw. com/, referenced March 31, 2011