• Ford was aware of gas tank defects on their Pinto model
• Ford ignored the safety concerns, positing “safety doesn’t sell” (p. 66)
• Ford based their decision off a cost-benefit analysis o Determined the “cost” of trunk alterations outweighed the “cost” of enhanced safety
• There were over 40 incidents involving Pinto passengers dying or being severely maimed
2.) ETHICAL ISSUES
• Is it morally right to sell a car with known, potentially fatal, defects?
• Ford Motor Company
• Ford Management
• Ford Design Team
• Ford Quality Control
• Ford Pinto Drivers
• Utilitarian Principle: Ford’s decision should have maximized the benefits and minimized the harm for consumers.
• The standard implicit in their decision was that since it was only a minority being injured, and they would reap a significant profit (with a majority of consumers being unaffected) their decision was permissible.
• Potential Consequences by party: o Ford Motor Company – potential public backlash/potential legal action/potential monetary penalties/potential loss of credibility with the public o Ford Management – potential loss of profits to rival manufacturers/potential jail time/potential loss of position/potential loss of credibility o Ford Design Team- potential job loss/potential compensation penalties/potential jail time o Ford Quality Control – potential loss of credibility/potential loss of jobs o Ford Pinto Drivers – potential loss of life/potential injuries or disabilities from vehicle operation
• It would appear that every obligation would UNDERMINE the decision to proceed forward with production of faulty vehicles
• Kant’s “categorical imperative” would be applicable in this scenario
• The action here – allowing potentially fatal vehicles to put into production – would not be willed into a universal law. Conversely, universal law would state that a manufacturer should ensure that all products made available to the public would be aligned with the highest safety standards
• Obligations by Party: o Ford Motor Company – ensure all vehicles they produce are in the highest spirit of safety, with no exceptions o Ford Management – maximize their efforts to ensure they company they run holds customer safety in the highest regard o Ford Design Team – ensure all designs meet the most rigorous safety requirements o Ford Quality Control – disallow any design that does not hold up to the highest safety scrutiny o Ford Pinto Drivers – purchase a car they have determined to be of utmost safety
• It would again appear that every…