Ethics on Ford Pinto Case

619 Words3 Pages
Case 2.1 The Ford Pinto – Case Study With the use of utilitarianism, ethical business practices would consider the good and the bad consequence for all persons the action would affect; treat them as having equal rights and no bias towards itself; would use it as an objective and quantitative way to make a moral decision. This was not the case for the Ford Motor Company in the late 1960's. In the early 1970's, Ford was on the verge to compete in the popular compact car market, and had finished the Pinto in record time (3.5 to 2 years). Engineers and executives were aware of the fact that the car was susceptible to explosion on low-speed rear impact collisions. Ford was able to prevent this situation, but the motor company calculated that the cost for upgrading the faulty equipment would be much greater than the lawsuits filed from potential accidents. Ford wen with a strict cost-benefit analysis to determine the best time to release the Pinto. A total of 180 burn deaths, 180 serious injuries and 2100 burned vehicles was assessed from the Pinto. The sum would turn out to be $49.5 million, taking into consideration of human life and welfare. In contrast, the total cost for installing the gas tank fix on Pinto's ($11 per vehicle) was $137 million. Due to the application of the Utilitarian Calculus, Ford went with releasing the vehicle without the installation. The amount of pleasure bestowed amongst Ford and its stakeholders supposedly seemed higher than the amount of pain that was inflicted upon the general public. This statistic serves to treat human beings as means and certainly not ends. When rationally calculating benefits in contrast to the costs of a decision, an increase in “utility” (such as happiness) may outweigh the damages, sufferings and deaths of few. This is a major flaw of the utilitarian approach, and in Kant's theory of morality, based on

More about Ethics on Ford Pinto Case

Open Document