The moral issues about the Ford Pinto is that they take their profit is more important than human life. They also did not inform the consumer about the facts of the Pinto. Lastly, they also lobbied the safety of the car to lowest standard (Shaw, Barry & Sansbury 2009, pp 97-99).
In August of 1978 three teenage girls were driving a Ford Pinto and were struck from behind. The three girls died because the Ford Pinto’s fuel tank ruptured from the collision and burst into flames. There was a big debate about the safety of the Ford Pinto to its proneness to its fuel tank catching on fire in low-speed rear-end
There are many different cases where people have been critically injured or have died from burn-related injuries from the ruptured the Pino gas tank. This case study specifically discusses the 1978 untimely deaths of Lynn Marie Ulrich, Dana Ulrich, and Judy Ann. Between 1971 and 1978, the Pinto was responsible for a number of fire-related deaths. It was the death of these teenagers that lead brought the controversy of the Ford Pinto’s faulty gas tank placement to a climax resulting in criminal homicide charges for the automaker. Ford’s CEO Henry Ford II and Ford’s new president Lee Iacocca were responsible for the launch of the Ford Pinto. To stay ahead of the growing competition, The Pinto was not to weigh over 2,000 pounds and not costs not to exceed $2,000. Ford officials knew that the Pinto represented a serious fire issue when struck from the rear, but were desperate to expedite the vehicle’s release, the Pintos timing was set just under 25 months. Tooling has already been kicked off, so when crash tests revealed a serious defect in the gas tank, it was too late for any design modifications. The tooling was well underway. Therefore, Ford’s president decided it would be too costly to make changes in the Pinto’s gas tank location pushing ahead with the original design which went unchanged for six years. Any changes to the low-cost Ford Pinto would result in an increased price, thus possibly making it less desirable by small car buyers. Iacocca understood that people shopping for compact cars were watching every dollar, One Ford engineer explained, “the process of elasticity on these subcompacts is extremely tight. You can price yourself right out of the market by adding $25 to the production cost of the model”.
Ford would rather take the cost of the Pinto’s design error to a court decision than admit it cost a certain amount of compensation for injuries or deaths. “In Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., 119 Cal. App. 3d 757 (4th Dist. 1981) , the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District reviewed Ford's conduct in painstaking detail, and upheld compensatory damages of $2.5 million and punitive damages of $3.5 million against Ford.” Each incident had a consequence, they were considering the cost of the company in choosing the cheap way out. Dell chose goodwill because of no major damages done, but put the majority blame on Sony. Ford is willing to take the cost of lawsuits as opposed to negotiating the value because it sets a standard payment amount. Ford is admitting a no
There are a few concerns about harmful behavior of the FMC that should be discussed. A behavior is harmful when it wrongfully sets back the interest of others and has a high risk of harm. Obviously, the gravity of harm in this case is very high being that it is life threatening. Once a consumer has purchased the Pinto and drives it off the lot he is at risk to getting rear ended, and burned to death by a car fire or explosion. Since the weight of this harm is very severe, the low probability of the consumer having an accident doesn’t discount Ford’s unethical behavior. Indeed, driving a Ford Pinto would place a consumer’s life at risk. Also at stake are the interests of Pinto passengers and drivers of other vehicles who certainly are not willing to risk their lives so Ford can make an extra buck. Everyone has an interest in not getting injured or killed. Setting back the interest of consumers isn’t the only thing Ford Motor Company was responsible for.
Ford executives were under a great deal of pressure to produce a smaller, more gas efficient automobile. Japanese and German automobile sales were rapidly increasing. These competitive forces drove Ford’s executive team to respond by rushing the design process of the Ford Pinto. By 1973, the Pinto was well into production when engineers discovered a flaw in the gas tank, which was located just under the rear bumper. They discovered that if the vehicle suffered a rear-end collision over 20 mph, the gas tank could break and spill gasoline into the passenger compartment, potentially resulting in a fire. The remedy for the flaw was a part that cost $11.00 per vehicle. Executives at Ford knew the company had followed all safety standards and regulations. At that time, automobile safety standards only needed gas tanks to withstand a collision under 20 mph. An internal cost-benefit analysis revealed the costs would be substantially higher to fix the design flaw that the costs associated with any potential damages due to collisions and loss of life. The public remained unaware until Mother Jones journalist, Mark Dowie broke the story in 1977. Fueled by the media, what followed was a frenzy of public outcry and court trials.
The Elkhart County Grand Jury took up the matter and filed a charge of criminal homicide against Ford, the Automobile American Corporation that designed the Pinto car models. According to Elkhart County Grand prosecutor, Michael A. Cosentino, Ford was guilty of reckless homicide, because the company committed a conscious, plain, and unjustifiable neglect of harm that positioned the gas tank in the rear end of the car without proven protection. Besides, Ford engaged in negligence and substantial deviation from the acceptable standards of conduct. The major focus of the case entailed the expanding and assessment of acceptable standards the company violated in the process of manufacture of Pinto cars.
On August 10, 1978 three young girls died in a 1973 Ford Pinto after being stuck from the rear by a driver in a van. The Ford Pinto was completely engulfed in flames and the accident resulted in the death of the three young girls. Today, the debate continues regarding whether or not The Ford Motor Company was responsible for this case and many other cases involving the Pinto bursting into flames resulting in disfigurement or death.
The legal issue is: Should Ford Motor Company be liable for the car accident of it’s Ford Pinto which caused fatal burns to Lilly Gray and permanent burn injuries to Richard Grimshaw? Should Ford Motor Company pay historical punitive damages because of the car defects that the senior management was knowledgeable of before pushing it into the consumer market?
Weakness - One of the weaknesses is higher cost compared to the competitors such as General Motors and Chrysler. In addition, Ford has an abundance of an expensive supply of vehicle models that cost to maintain. Ford is also known to have bad financial management and late in innovation.
Ford Motor Company has tough competition with European and Japanese manufacturers, therefore the company did not respond well and suffered
I think Pinto case raised some serious issue of abusing human rights and not behaving ethically in the world of business. Any business/service should never ever put a value on human life and not take consideration of a known deadly danger. Ford had an option as well as the solution to design the car in a way that prevented cars from exploding; however they refused to implement it. They thought that it was cost effective not to fix dangerous condition than to spend the money to save people in spite of the fact that the only added cost was $ 11 per vehicle.
In 2001 Ford started selling their Ford Explorer. Problems started to arise when the vehicle 's tires tread separated causing the vehicle to roll over. There was 203 deaths linked to this issue as well as 700 injuries reported. When the problem came to light for both companies instead of reacting to the problem they became on the offense for the
Everyone except Ford’s top executives, who in an internal document cited the potential danger. So not only did they know about it, but they calculated that it would be cheaper to pay out possible injury claims then it would be to recall all the vehicles. This ethical dilemma came to a head when three teenage girls were killed in Indiana while in a Ford Pinto. With the bad press and with company officials being indicted with negligence and homicide, Ford was forced to recall all their Pinto vehicles. Ethical issues in the auto industry regarding product safety are dangerous and are linked to human lives. The decisions that Ford executives made had a direct impact on those three teenage girls and the blood was left in their hands. This is just one of many faulty decisions made in automakers history that helped mold the unethical decisions made by Volkswagen in the most recent ethical issue facing the auto industry.