Ford Pinto Fires Case Questions 1. Identify relevant facts (Trevino, Nelson, and K. A.
(2007) a. 1968 Ford made the decision to battle foreign competition and produce a small car to be in the showroom by 1971 b. Shortest production planning period in automotive history c. Under normal conditions chassis design, styling, product planning, advance engineering, component testing, and so on were all either completed or nearly completed prior to tooling of the production factories.
Because tooling had a fixed time frame of about 18 months; some of these other processes were done more or less concurrently. . When it was discovered through crash testing that the Pinto’s fuel tank often ruptured during rear-end impact, it was too late to do much about it in terms of redesign. e.
Ford was fully aware of faulty fuel tank design. These tests were done under guidelines established by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 301, which was proposed in 1968 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , but not officially adopted until the 1977 model year. f. For the Pinto’s 1971 debut, Ford decided to go with its original gas tank design despite the crash-test results.
g. Limits of 2000” Pinto could not cost more than $2000 and could not weigh more than 2000 pounds. Ford felt it could not spend any money on improving the gas tank. h.
During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s American consumers demonstrated little concern for safety. i. One Ford engineer, when asked about the dangerous gas tank said, “Safety isn’t the issue, trunk space is” j. Most controversial reason for not making adjustments, Ford and the auto industry convinced NHTSA regulators that cost/benefit analysis would be an appropriate bases for determining the feasibility of safety design standards.
. Ford calculated the cost of adding an $11 gas tank improvement versus the benefits of the projected 180 lives that would be saved. The costs outweighed the benefits by almost three times. This analysis indicated no improvements to the gas tanks were warranted.
2. Identify the pertinent ethical issues/points of ethical conflict a. Can you put a value on a person’s life b. Is the cost of $11 to fix the problem really worth more than a person’s life c.
Ford was aware of the gas tank problem and still did not fix it. 3. Identify the relevant affected parties . Pinto owners b.
Ford executives who made the decision to go ahead with production c. The Engineers who were aware of the problem and kept quiet 4. Identify possible consequences of alternative courses of action a. Lives would have been saved with the $11 fix b.
If more time was taken to produce the car, the Pinto would have been a safer car c. Ford would have saved money on lawsuits while profit would decrease 5. Identify relevant obligations a. At the time of production the Pinto was considered safe.
b. The engineers followed the “Limits of 2000” . Identify your relevant community standards that should guide you as a person of integrity a. Confident when purchasing a car that it will be safe.
b. Confident of automakers producing safe vehicles c. Communities value human life more than the $11 fix. 7.
Check your gut a. Ford should have implemented the fix before allowing the cars to be sold The facts were taken from the end of chapter 4, Pinto Fires by Dennis A Gioia That is also where I got the questions from. Trevino, L. K.
, Nelson, . , & K. A. , .
(2007). Managing business ethics.Straight talk about how to do it right, Fourth Edition. , : John Wiley & Sons.
Slide show Facts 1 Short production cycles 2 Tooling being produced simultaneously as engineering 3 Ford aware of problem before production 4 Original gas tank design despite knowledge of failure Ethical issues and affected parties 1 $11 fix 2 Value on someone’s life 3 Ford with knowledge of defect 4 Consumers and engineers of Ford with knowledge of problem Obligation and standards 1 Ford provide quality automobiles 2 Human lives cannot be valued 3 Ford should have fixed problem before releasing for sale