Ford Pinto Executive Summary
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Ford Pinto Executive Summary
The Ford Pinto case is a classic example of ethics versus money. Ford decided to make a decision that was unethical in order to save time and money. The questions that come about when determining how unethical it all was are: What solutions would be recommended to make it better? How did external social pressures influence the decisions? Through the period eye would the decision made have been the same today as in 1971? Recommended Solutions
Fords argument to the government was, “It would be cheaper in the long run to just let their customer’s burn!” How can this even be a dilemma or a problem? If that statement could be made, the vehicle is not the problem, the person in charge is. I have learned that in my attempts to save one dollar, in most cases the result is losing more. Although the text stated that Ford Pinto lost more than 50 million dollars in lawsuits and bad publicity, other text found on Engineering.com and Time.com states that Ford saved money by not correcting the problems. A summary table from Engineering.com states: Summary Table
Savings: 180 burn deaths, 180 serious burn injuries, 2,100 burned vehicles. Unit Cost: $200,000 per death, $67,000 per injury, $700 per vehicle. Total Benefit: 180 X ($200,000) + 180 X ($67,000) + $2,100 X ($700) = $49.5 million. COSTS
Sales: 11 million cars, 1.5 million light trucks.
Unit Cost: $11 per car, $11 per truck.
Total Cost: 11,000,000 X ($11) + 1,500,000 X ($11) = $137 million.
Time.com, 2007: quoted a Ford Pinto memo, which ruthlessly calculates the cost of reinforcing the rear end ($121 million) versus the potential payout to victims ($50 million). The Pinto Ford, I believe went wrong from conception. I would not have let the car be designed and produced in 25 months instead of the normal 43 months, unless it could be done properly. With the short production time the Pinto was not tested for rear-end impact until after it was produced. I would rather the car go through vigorous testing to cut down on some of the cost-benefit analysis that weighed the cost of adding the baffle against the estimated cost of lawsuits.
As a cost-efficient decision there would be a no question choice of not adding the baffle. As a moral decision there would be a dilemma. When I discovered that the gas tank was unsafe, I would have pictured my family riding in the death trap and all of the horrible conclusions that could arise from the gas tank rupturing. I simply would have put human life and safety before profit. I would choose to correct and strengthen the design. I also would have went with the pre-production idea of using the Ford Capri gas tank, which rides over the axle and differential housing, (Engineering.com). External Social Pressures
The Ford Pinto case created quite an impact in society. Whether or not the product was safe and ready to sell without proper construction or not considered in the many flaws of the product formed a dilemma that was sadly seen after the product was sold to consumers. The Ford Company knew that the product was not safe, but went ahead with making the vehicle. This put the Ford Company in a dilemma that could have been avoided if they had done the proper research before putting the car on the market. The solution would have been simple: wait the proper amount of time, establish a quality low cost automobile, and provide the much needed baffle.
Had this vehicle been properly fabricated there would have been no impact to the consumers and we would not have been thinking of the “what if” factors. It would have been simply a much needed economical car. However, this was not the case and even 50 plus years later we are still debating it. The external pressure that was most important was from the people. The people that lost their lives are what made us think of the solution. No amount of money...
References: Helms, M.M., & Hutchins, B.A. (1992). Poor quality products: Is their production unethical?
Management Decision, 30(5), 35-46. Retrieved on June 6, 2010, from ProQuest database.
Newton, L.H., & Ford, M.M. (2008). Taking sides: Clashing views in business ethics and
society. (10th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
Time. (2007). Times.com. Retrieved from: http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1657866,00.html#ixzz0pl1hC0By
Engineering.com. (2010). Engineering.com the engineer 's ultimate resource. Retrieved from: http://www.engineering.com/Library/ArticlesPage/tabid/85/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/166/Ford-Pinto.aspx
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