The Ethical Dilemma in the Ford Pinto Case Essay

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The Ethical Dilemma in the Ford Pinto Case

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. Ford has argued for over three decades that The Ford Motor Company is not at fault, but rather the other motorists who happened to rear end the Pinto drivers. Many accuse Ford of rushing the Pinto into production without proper testing leaving a faulty
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If placed in the position of jurors who heard the arguments of 1978, personal consideration would have included benefit and harm, instead of relying on the cost/benefit analysis. Investigation conducted by the prosecution discovered that the engineers for Ford had knowledge of the defect during pre-production crash testing. Contrary to practicing ethically halting production to correct the defect, the automobile manufacturer indicated making changes to the tool design were not cost effective; essentially placing a dollar value on human existence. Ford motors appeared to be concerned with the cost and amount of time necessary to fix problem; rather than the lives lost or people permanently affected by the burning vehicle. Personal evaluation of this case would take into consideration the fact; one engineer did offer a document indicating and estimate for the cost of value refitting which would prevent the Ford Pinto from bursting into flames should a rear end collision occur. A simple, $1, plastic gadget weighing one pound fitted over the gas tank bolts would have prevented the tank from being punctured. Conclusion was that "it was more economical to let people die and settle the suits afterward" (Newton and Ford, 2008). Put simply, the Ford corporate heads believed no project was worth manufacturing if the cost-benefit indicated a greater cost than the benefit. Further evaluation of the analysis indicated if the
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