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Ford Pinto Case Study Analysis

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Ford Pinto: An Ethical Inferno
Michael W. Daniels
Excelsior College

Introduction and Analysis
“Pinto crashes caused the death and mutilation of 900 occupants after their cars burst into flames after rear-end collisions,” Robert Sherefkin explains in his article Lee Iacocca's Pinto: A fiery failure. The engineered design of the Ford Pintos resulted in the gas tank rupturing in low speed rear end collisions. The design flaw was recognized early in the Ford Pinto’s production. According to Dowie’s article Pinto Madness. Mother Jones, “Internal company documents in our possession show that Ford has crash-tested the Pinto at a top secret site more than 40 times and that every test made at over 25 mph without special structural alteration of the car has resulted in a ruptured fuel tank.” Dowie then explains how more than a quarter of those tests were performed prior to the initial release of the vehicle. It was estimated that just 11$ upgrade per vehicle would have remedied the problem (Dowie, 1977). On June 10, 1978, almost a decade after the first Pinto was built, Ford eventually agreed to recall the Pinto (Boyce, D, 2012). The decision was made after countless lawsuits over a span of eight years drained the Ford Motor Company of millions of dollars.
The company’s President Lee Iacocca could have rectified the design flaw but deemed it too late in production to reconstruct the vehicle. His requirement of the car weighing less than 2000 pounds and cost of under 2000 dollars limited the option of any major deviation from the original design. Due to the expanding foreign car industry and the high demand for subcompact vehicles, there was a sense of urgency to release the Ford Pinto in a timely manner. Lee Iacocca’s emphasized on profit and production while maintaining a blatant disregard for safety. Although a recall early in the production of the...

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