Ford Pinto Case Essay

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Utilitarian Analysis of the Ford Pinto Case In the case of the Ford Pinto, there has been great debate on how Ford handled this problem and whether it was ethical. There are countless ways to look at the situation and how to handle it. Over the years, many have questioned Ford’s decision-making and why they focused on cost-analysis rather than ethics. “They thought of it as purely a business decision rather than an ethical one,” suggests Max Bazerman and Ann Tenbrunsel in Harvard Business Review. In the 70’s ethics was not on the forefront of business executives minds, especially when making decisions that could deeply affect the company. This landmark case allows future generations to use a utilitarian analysis to decide whether Ford should have made a different choice. In 1971, Ford Motor Company produced a compact car to the public in record time and at record prices. The quick production time of the Ford Pinto was a result of Ford attempting to keep up with the competition. However, as a result, the Pinto did not undergo all necessary safety tests before it was released. According to a Ford engineer, “Safety wasn't a popular subject around Ford in those days. Whenever a problem was raised that meant a delay on the Pinto, Lee would chomp on his cigar, look out the window and say 'Read the product objectives and get back to work’.” (Engineer). When Ford finally tested the car for rear-end impact it was determined that the car was dangerous in that the fuel tank was not strong enough to be at the back bumper. Collisions at speeds as low as 20 miles per hour could puncture the fuel tank and cause fires. After further testing, Ford realized that the Pinto’s default could be fixed with a particular part, a baffle, and would cost approximately $11 per vehicle. Upon learning this, Ford conducted a cost-analysis that compared the cost of recalling already

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