The Ford/Firestone Case
This case involves Ford and the Japanese tire manufacturer, Bridgestone/Firestone. The Ford Explorers which were prone to rolling over, came equipped with Firestone defected tires. The tire seemed to have a defect that caused the tread to separate from the whole of the tire and cause the vehicle to flip. Although Firestone knew about such defects, they continued to produce despite knowing the deadly consequences that lay behind their actions. The Explorer also had a bad reputation of rolling over and Ford knew it. As a result, fatal accidents occurred from these two combinations. Since this was a very serious safety issue, Ford and Firestone were ordering the recall of problem tires in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Asia but not in the United States. So, did the company act ethically in resolving this crisis? No, the companies failed to fix the problem in the United States. According to NHTSA, the tires have caused many deaths and injuries in the United States. In fact, these accidents would have not occurred if both companies have solved the problem immediately. Thus, despite the obvious safety issues, there were also fundamental ethical issues.
Did they protect the health and well being of affected publics? Ford and Firestone knew that they were having problems with their products before all of these accidents happened. For instance "Ford internal documents show the company engineers recommended changes to the vehicle design after it rolled over in company tests prior to introduction."(www.ratical.org/corporation) Moreover, "In 1998, mounting insurance claims already had indicated to financial staff members at Firestone that a problem existed with the tires." (www.ombuds.org.) But Ford and Firestone did not take any action to fix the problem. So it was obvious then that they were not concerned for the well being of the people. Even staff members who knew that the safety of customers was in danger due to the defect of these...
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