Ethical Issues Related to Ford Pinto Car Model


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Ford pinto was designed in North America. At that time when ford design this car, Japanese were trying to enter in the motor industry of America, at the same time American car manufactures were also introduce some new car models. So, Ford pinto is weapon for Ford to stand in the market. This subcompact car was sold by the ford in North America from 1971 to 1980. But this car’s fuel tank had some manufacture and design defect. Later on these defects caused so many accidents. In the world of business, Ford raised so many serious ethical issues. We can find more than one moral issue in this fuel tank controversy. But here I just want to share one of those that I found on the internet.

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The major issue that we can see in this scenario is the Design. The design of Pinto was totally wrong from the beginning, but ‘Lee Lacocca’ was the president of the company at that time, he knew the significant result of the gas tank design of the Pinto would cause trouble. However, he still decided to manufacture the car. Lacocca never gave importance to customer’s safety. His only interest was in making more money and maximizing the profit. His favorite quote was, “safety doesn’t sell” (Mother Jones, October 1977). The decision that ford made to produce this car, is not considered right in terms of business ethics. This case clearly shows that engineers of this car already warned the company about the discrepancy they saw going on about this car is not being safe. When they did preproduction crash test, the results were not up to the mark. But at that time ford decided to stick with their plan, because if they try to improve/change their product, then car launch could delay for some more years. And this modification can also cause them more expenses. This behavior of ford is unacceptable. It is morally wrong to put the people’s life at risk just for the sake of company’s benefit.

Ford also lied that, they strictly follow the data provided by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). The report that was found later tells about all the options as well as the solution that Ford had, they could make some changes in the car design that could prevent cars from exploding. These changes in car just add $11 dollar more than original price per vehicle, but ford to remain cost effective, refused to improve the design. These car explodes costed many lives and many people got seriously hurt. Ford has right place to put a human life in deadly danger. This is an example of a serious ethical breach. In conclusion, I would like to say that every business or company should respect and exercise human rights, and never ever try to make profit by exploiting these rights of people, especially when human lives are at stake. Because these types of actions leave a bad impression about the company in consumer’s mind and can harm the business at a large scale.

Business or virtue ethics and moral responsibilities must be main priority for any good or product to sell. This should not be even re-considered in anyway by the company. Ford should believe that rational beings have dignity and should respected the importance of human life by performing their business ethically and should stand on the ground where they would not have to face anything like this in future.

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