Ford Pinto Ethics Essay

Words: 1686
Pages: 7

Ford Pinto Case: The Invisible Corporate Human Pricetag

In this essay, I will argue that Ford Motor Company’s business behavior was unethical as demonstrated in the Ford Pinto Case. Ford did not reveal all the facts to consumers about a harmful gas tank design in the Ford Pinto. They tried to justify their decision to sell an unsafe car by using a Cost-Benefit Analysis which determined it was cheaper to sell the cars without changing to a safer gas tank. The price of not fixing the gas tanks is human injuries and fatalities. By choosing not to make the Pinto a safer vehicle Ford placed a price on the head of every consumer. Ford’s primary concern was to maximize profits. Ford had a duty and ethical responsibility to customers to
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Consumers would have probably chosen a different car. One might argue that FMC’s behavior is excusable because the company used the NHTSA legal decision that CBA qualified as an appropriate method to determine safety design standards.

Ford used NHTSA’s figure of $200,725 to estimate the cost for a person killed in a Pinto auto accident. However, this is not a valid justification since only innocent ignorance and mistakes constitute an excuse. Ford’s unethical behavior is indefensible, they should have known better. Once the company gained the knowledge that the number of accidents, injuries and deaths associated with the Pinto were rising, they could have stopped production. Ford even tried to use the excuse that there were many other cars catching fire and causing injuries. However, the data presented in this case study show that the production of the Ford Pinto with the flawed engine design was followed by a notable increase in injuries and deaths caused by Pinto car fires to drivers of all ages. As indicated in the case 500 or more burn deaths were caused by the Pinto catching fire. Instead, Ford continued to produce the Pinto with a flawed dangerous design because the price for injury and death was less than paying the $11 per car to make them safe. It is evident Ford values money more than human life.

Ford fails ethically when posed with the questions, did consumers provide valid consent? Did the