The Ford Pinto Case Study

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The Ford Pinto Case Review of the Case The Pinto is a car that was manufactured by Ford from 1971-1980. The Pinto was Ford’s answer to match the increasing popularity of smaller cars, also known as subcompact cars, which were being imported by Toyota and Datsun. Iacocca’s specifications for the design of the car were very specific. "The Pinto was not to weigh an ounce over 2,000 pounds and not cost a cent over $2,000 (Unlisted, 2006)." It was discovered in rear end crash tests, even before the car was sold to the public, that the fuel tank would rupture and begin spilling fuel in collisions over 25 mph and that collisions of over 40 mph would result in the front doors jamming making it almost impossible to get the passengers out of the car. If the fuel ignited, this created a fireball situation that severely injured and killed several people. Because Ford was aware of this problem, and made aware of possible fixes, they did a cost study to compare the costs of potential law suits and the costs of changing the design for the Pinto. Based on this analysis, Ford legally chose not to make the design changes which would have made the Pinto safer. This decision led to one of the greatest debates of all time, leading towards arguments over just because a decision is legal, does it make it ethical, especially when the cost is a human life. Facts and Assumptions Facts • The normal time span from conception to production of a new car model is about 43 months. The Pinto schedule was set at just under 25 (Unlisted, 2006). • Design, styling, product planning, advance engineering, and quality assurance all have flexible times, but tooling doesn’t. It usually takes 18 months. Because of the tooling’s fixed time frame and Iacocca’s required short time frame, tooling went on at the same time as production development (Birsch & Fielder, 19). • Ford

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