Ford Pinto Case

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Ford Pinto Case
John Fraughton Jr.
Taylor Gray
Brenda Greenwell
Christopher Macintyre
Leanne Marks

University of Phoenix
MGT 216
March 17, 2010

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Recommended Solutions and Supporting Information to the Ford Pinto Case 3 Traffic Safety and Accident Data 4
Ethical Opinion 5
Influences from External Social Pressures 5
Case Examined with the Period Eye 6
Conclusion 8
References 9

Very few 20 to 30 year olds know of the Ford Pinto Supreme Court case; however, most are likely familiar with the more recent “Bridgestone/Firestone scandal affecting scores of tires installed on new Ford Explorer vehicles. Additionally, Ford experienced significant safety concerns on the full size Crown Victoria Police cruisers, for yes, ruptured fuel tanks” (Corporatenarc, 2010). Scandals and Ford Motor Company are becoming synonymous terms for many car buyers, although Ford continues to clear themselves of these unethical issues through prolific counsel and stiff political lobbying. Whereas Ford remains in business, many lives have been lost as a consequence to Ford’s unethical and irresponsible behavior, defining Ford’s lack of respect for customers and human life. Ford has been marginally successful throughout the years, but unfortunately for Ford, Forbes Magazine has labeled the Ford Pinto as one of the “worst cars ever” (Lienert, 2004).

Recommended Solutions and
Supporting Information to the Ford Pinto Case

Ford prevailed on suits by using its size and power to develop a compelling argument to the Supreme Court as well as Congressional Leaders, further supporting their position by encouraging and lobbying for stricter safety requirement on automobiles. Without question, Ford understood that the Pinto was an unsafe car though continued production with total disregard to human life. Determining whether Ford’s actions are ethical or unethical is seen through corporate leadership and public perception relative to Ford’s business model; what Ford considers ethical versus what the public deems ethical. If the business model for the Ford Pinto suggests producing a dangerous car, then the public must be privy to that information prior to making a purchase.

Traffic Safety and Accident Data

Undoubtedly, driving is dangerous. Regardless of vehicle type, drivers’ are subject to accidents. In fact, according to the Safety Services Company, “driving is considered the 8th most dangerous job with a fatality rate of 28.2% and driving is one of the leading causes of death among Americans” (Marco, 2009). In addition, The Department of Transportation announced in the first quarter of 2010 that, “driving was the root cause of over 37,000 fatalities in 2009” (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010). Traffic accidents are a given; however, consider what the fatalities would escalate to if every rear-end accident potentially caused a fatality.

Ethical Opinion

Ford brought a good case to the court room and won the case based on a stellar performance by James Neal. By contrast, Ford lost the respect of many American based on the lack of integrity. To correct the problem, Ford should have spent the 20 to 30 dollars per car to reinforce the gas tank, but instead Ford elected to risk the lives of others for monetary gain and take their lack of ethics to a courtroom with high profile attorney’s, pathetic.

Influences from External Social Pressures

In this day and age, there is plenty of negative publicity surrounding employees of big corporations who have made poor ethical decisions. The Toyota recall of millions of vehicles because of faulty brakes is the most recent. The Enron scandal and Martha Stuart debacle are also prime examples. First, executives at Toyota may have known about the issues the car company was having with accelerator pedals sticking. Initially, it appeared that Toyota was trying to cover up the problem, or diminish...
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