Ford Pinto Case Study

Topics: Ford Pinto, Ford Motor Company, Cost-benefit analysis Pages: 2 (541 words) Published: October 16, 2012
Assignment #1
Ford Pinto Case Study Analysis (ESSAY)

Moral issue: One of the most important ethical issues concerning the Ford Pinto case is that the Ford Motor Co. disregarded their customer’s safety for monetary gain and did not take into consideration that the cost of death estimate would one day result in an actual person. During the early 1970’s, Ford was hastily preparing to jump into the market with the introduction of their newly designed car named ‘Ford Pinto’. Although the Pinto was initially hugely popular in USA, its sales fell dramatically due to a controversy surrounding the safety of its gas tank. During the release of the vehicle, Ford engineers and executives gave approval to launch it knowing that it had an extremely high potential to explode upon low-speed rear impact collisions. Ford could have the chance to prevent this situation, but the company realized that the cost for modifying or retooling the assembly line would be greater than the lawsuits that would result from potential accidents. They tried to justify their decision through cost-benefit analysis approach which determined it was cheaper to sell the cars without replacing it with a safer gas tank. This can be clearly related with the application of utilitarianism theory in terms of ethical theories. Therefore Ford Pinto case is an example of cost-benefit analysis and subsequently utilitarianism at its worst. Ford used the cost-benefit analysis approach in order to determine when and how to launch the newly designed Pinto. Thus, the Ford Motor Co. attempted to compare the utility of the product (car) to the value of human life. It caused hundreds of deaths, serious harms and loss done to the customers and their families involved in the rear-end collision car accidents resulting from the flaw of gas tank in the rear of the car. The company thought that the number of such cases would rather be small, and the cost of damage was approximately $200,725...
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