Ford Pinto Case Study The Ford pinto lasted from the 1960’s to the late 1970s and was highly controversial. This poorly made automobile came from a production race between the USA and Japan, where the United States promised an affordable, fuel efficient, and reliable car. Because of the hasty production, it left Ford with a flawed, dangerous, and untested product. The outrage over the obvious safety flaws of the Ford Pinto caused leaders to call upon their values, mission statement, and ethics.
The outcome and actions taken in this case left consumers with a loss of confidence and respect for the Ford motor company and its leaders. In the late 1960’s the American auto industry was facing the large challenge of selling American made cars in direct competition with the dominating Japanese auto industry. The Japanese were beginning to outperform the United States auto makers, due to their smaller, fuel efficient and low-cost cars. In response to the Japanese, Ford Motor Company decided to create a smaller and more affordable vehicle that would capture the interest of the American people.
Pressured by competition during the early 1970’s, Ford Motor Company began their production of the Ford Pinto (Business Ethics). Ford Motor Company saw this moment as an opportunity to create jobs, sell a large amount of cars at a very low price, and at the same time make a substantial profit for their company. Ford had the idea that the Pinto was going to be the car to reposition the American auto industry back into competition with the Japanese car industry. The Idea and intent of Ford Motor Company to create a car that was going to weigh less than 2,000 pounds and cost less than 2,000 dollars was incredible.
The decision on the time frame to complete the design and produce the car became costly. Ford Motor Company decided to design and produce the Ford Pinto in 25 months versus 43 months, which was the required time for the production of a new auto line (Business Ethics). Due to the reduced production time, the Ford Motor Company omitted to conduct the rear-end impact test, not required by law; however, was always done as a standard safety procedure. Fords decision to reduce the required time frame to design and produce the Ford Pinto and omitting to test the car’s ear –end impact until after production and overlooking that the Ford Pinto failed the test was not morally or ethically right (Business Ethics). The rear impact test revealed that the Pinto’s fuel tank placed at the rear of the vehicle if hit from the rear at a speed of approximately 20 miles per hour or more could cause the vehicle to burst into flame. This explosion will cause serious bodily harm or death to its passengers, and innocent by-standers (Business Ethics).
Looking at all the facts the leadership of the Ford Motor Company, including its engineers, knowingly overlooked safety regulations for financial gain. This became obvious after Ford Motor Company conducted a study to determine the financial impact on correcting the problem by inserting a baffle between the bumper and the gas tank would be financially more costly than taking the risk of paying or settling in a lawsuit. The greed of the Ford Motor Company was a deciding factor over the safety of its customers and the public’s lives.
The Ford pinto case showed Ford as a greedy, unethical organizational with only profits in mind. Ford chose not to keep its integrity by fixing the pinto so it would be safe for customers. The culture presented in the Ford pinto case does not fit with-in some of the current values of the Ford Motor Company. One value that reflects the Ford pinto case is “Profits are the ultimate measure of how efficiently we provide customers with the best products for their needs. Profits are required to survive and prosper” (vision & mission, Ford n. d. ).
In the Ford pinto case profits made Ford lose sight of their customers’ safety. Ford had only profits in mind and not their customers. Fords integrity principle is, “The conduct of our Company worldwide must be pursued in a manner that is socially responsible and commands respect for its integrity and positive contribution to society” (vision & mission, Ford n. d. ). Ford did not keep their integrity in the ford pinto case; it is not socially responsible to put people in danger because a company makes a mistake they find too expensive to fix.
Ford could have done the right thing and fixed the pinto but chose not to due to costs. Another principle of Ford is “Our work must be done with our customers in mind, providing better products and services than our competitors” (vision & mission, Ford n. d. ). With the case of the Pinto Ford had nothing in mind but themselves and was not doing the right thing for the customer. The corporate culture set by the actions that took place in the ford pinto case was that ford company acting with greedy, selfishness, and no concern of the wellbeing of its customers.
Ford’s current mission statement is “We are a global family with a proud heritage passionately committed to providing personal mobility for people around the world. ” This is close to what it was in the 1960s; however with Japan closing the once thought insurmountable gap in sales American auto makers had to change. Japan had discovered a way to build smaller more fuel efficient and low-cost cars. American car manufacturers were still stuck on bigger and better as the American standard. As stated before Ford’s response to Japanese autos was the Pinto, a fantastic idea plan poorly executed.
Ford knew the tank design failed and that people could and would die from this mistake. How does a company justify their values, commitment to customer safety, and integrity to sell a car that will blow-up when struck from a common rear end collision. Ford was looking at continued loss in market share to Japan if the recalled the Pinto; however, in the end Ford decided to work around the problem and the inevitable lawsuits. Ford’s values were driven by the mighty dollar, Team A’s values are much different, we see a problem we acknowledge it and fix it immediately no matter the cost to us.
Ford chooses the dollar over people, Team “A” is mostly military so we have always understood that people are our greatest asset, and we have made strides to improve lives not to cause more risk to them. Ford’s integrity was compromised by their lust for competition, the greed for the dollar, and their inability to see that people are more important than money. In the end Ford learned, it is the consumers that determine the fate of a company. After the Pinto fiasco and other problems Ford struggled and had to lean on the Mustang and F150 to pull itself through the 80’s and.
Time has eroded the bad images of the Pinto, and Ford not accepting government bailout money looks like the shining light of American automotive dealers. Maybe the lessons they learned helped them to turn the company into one that practices high standards of values, integrity, and the value of human life. The Ford company had tried to make the Pinto the highlight of the 1960’s and 70’s American automobile manufacturing. The reality was that due to the rushed production and corner cutting Ford created a cheap, fuel efficient car with one major flaw.
Although Ford knew of the gas tank flaw, they decided to move forward with distribution and production of the Pinto. The lack of compassion for the deaths and risks of pinto owners severely hurt the image and trust in the Ford motor company. Putting money and profits before everything else is a common business mistake, and in the case of the Ford pinto it led to the killing and injuring of consumers. References Ford. (n. d. ). Ford Otosan. Retrieved from http://www. fordotosan. com. tr/en/visionmission. htm