Ford Pinto

Topics: Ford Pinto, Cost-benefit analysis, Ethics Pages: 3 (962 words) Published: September 6, 2012
Utilitarian Evaluation of Ford Pinto Case Utilitarian approach is based on simple cost-benefit analysis of each individual issue. The rule by which utilitarian classifies an action as moral if it produces more good than bad, and immoral if it produces more bad than good. In other words, cost-benefit analysis determines the morality of actions by measuring the consequences and how favorable they are to the people overall. These consequences include harm, honesty, justice and rights. According to Mills, no harm should be done to others, people should not be deceived and their rights to life, free expression, and safety should be acknowledged. The action that I am going to evaluate is Fords reckless neglect of these principles, manipulation of the utilitarian theory to fit companys needs and unethical behavior in the Ford Pinto case. Many sides were affected by the Fords decision. The company, its CEO Lee Iacocca, and its customers were directly involved, and all the people driving behind the Pintos, insurance companies and many others were indirectly involved. To summarize the case, the Ford Pinto went on sale with hazardous design errors in the position of the fuel tank and near bolts, and the inclination for the fuel valve to leak in rollover accidents. Mr. Iacocca rushed his engineers to make a design and produce a vehicle that will be less than 2000 pounds heavy and it would cost less than $2000. This turned out to be a good idea because Pinto sales were booming until 1972 when four people died. The accidents were occurring more and more and costing Ford millions in law suit damages. The Ford then did the cost-benefit analysis and demonstrated an abuse of Hu utilitarian principles, because the engineers knew about the errors and the company continued to sell the car as it was, without safety modifications. According to Leggett, Ford weighed the risk of harm and the overall cost of avoiding it. (Leggett) In terms of numbers Ford estimated $10000 for victim's...

Cited: Birsch, Douglas and John Fielder.
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