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Ford Pinto Case Analysis

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Ford Pinto case analysis


Northeastern University

Case summary

In 1978, three young girls drove Ford Pinto to participate their church volleyball practice, sadly, on the road, they all died in a terrible automobile accident. This terrible disaster made Ford company stock into a very difficult situation, because people pointed out this accident derived from the low quality of Ford Pinto, and the reason of bad quality not because of innocent negligence from Ford company, but it can be defined as murder from Ford’s upper managers. Before Ford Pinto sailing on the market, its’ fuel tank deign already had been proved having high dangerous function from series crash-test results. There existed four reasons why Ford still persisted the production of Ford Pinto after test results. First, although test results showed the potential dangers but it still met the production standard in that time. Second, customers cared about automobile’s price, Ford’s upper manager Iacocca decided saving cost to promote selling quantities. Third, Customers of the united state showed low concern about safety, so it could be counted as a reason why Iacocca had no little sense of importance of safety. The last reason was Ford convincing NHTSA regulators, which could offer reasonable basis of quality of safety standards.

Key lessons from the case

The case study declaring that the decision making about Ford Pinto production shows the dilemma when people make choose between self-benefits and business responsibilities. There exist two critical ethical points that have been mentioned in the case. In the first place, Ford Motor Company totally ignored the testing result of Ford Pinto derived from upper manager irresponsible decisions. The original reason was that leader wanted reinforced his position to boost sales performance, who longed for Ford Pinto selling on market as soon as possible and marking commercial benefit, so they found excuses for their unethical behavior, one is saving cost, the other was that Pinto met required standard at that time. It reflected that legal standards and business nous can be used as powerful and unethical tool when leaders try to declare their decisions are reasonable, people should make clear discrimination on this double-edged sword to keep sober and be justice.The second point is whether human’s life can be calculated by series cost accounting, Ford Motor Company made cost-benefit analysis of the value of human’s life, then, according to results, they decided not adjusting the original deign of Ford Pinto to save cost. This behavior was totally unethical, it illustrated the idea about people can die or get severe injured just because the cost of human life prevention is too expensive. On the other hand, there always exist something that cannot be counted in specific numbers of money, like human’s life. The Ford Motor Company also paid huge price for their shorted eyesight and selfishness; their analysis was not making effect to all the consequences, excepting compensation to victims, they were suffering strong public accusation and lawsuit, what’s more, the loss of corporate reputation resulted countless Ford’s commercial benefits after Ford Pinto accident.



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