Ford Pinto Fires

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Ford Pinto Fires

Case Questions

1. Identify relevant facts (Treviño, Nelson, and K.A. (2007)

a. 1968 Ford made the decision to battle foreign competition and produce a small car to be in the showroom by 1971

b. Shortest production planning period in automotive history

c. Under normal conditions chassis design, styling, product planning, advance engineering, component testing, and so on were all either completed or nearly completed prior to tooling of the production factories. Because tooling had a fixed time frame of about 18 months; some of these other processes were done more or less concurrently.

d. When it was discovered through crash testing that the Pinto’s fuel tank often ruptured during rear-end impact, it was too late to do much about it in terms of redesign.

e. Ford was fully aware of faulty fuel tank design. These tests were done under guidelines established by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 301, which was proposed in 1968 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , but not officially adopted until the 1977 model year.

f. For the Pinto’s 1971 debut, Ford decided to go with its original gas tank design despite the crash-test results.

g. “Limits of 2000” Pinto could not cost more than $2000 and could not weigh more than 2000 pounds. Ford felt it could not spend any money on improving the gas tank.

h. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s American consumers demonstrated little concern for safety.

i. One Ford engineer, when asked about the dangerous gas tank said, “Safety isn’t the issue, trunk space is”

j. Most controversial reason for not making adjustments, Ford and the auto industry convinced NHTSA regulators that cost/benefit analysis would be an appropriate bases for determining the feasibility of safety design standards.

k. Ford calculated the cost of adding an $11 gas tank improvement versus the benefits of the projected 180 lives that would be saved....
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