The Ford Pinto
When the Ford Pinto was being manufactured it was planned that it was not going to cost anything over two thousand dollars and it was not going to weigh anything over two thousand pounds. While they were creating the Ford Pinto they were analyzing tests, and in their rear end crashes over twenty five miles an hour they established that the gas tank would always rupture. In order to correct this problem they would have to change and strengthen the structure. If they did this, it would raise the price of the vehicle and the weight, which Ford didn’t want to do. Instead they decided to put the car on the market even though the car had many risks. Ford shouldn’t have been able to put the Ford Pinto on the Market.
Can you put a price on the human life? I think that the answer to that question is no. Although ford decided that they would still make a ton of money even after all of the lawsuits, it is not fair to risk a human beings life. When ford was doing their research they thought about the one person that would get killed from their vehicle, they didn’t think about all of the people that the person could be associated with. Let’s say a guy died in an accident caused by the gas tank exploding on the Ford Pinto. This guy had no parents, no relatives, he was not associated with anyone, and people think that this guy’s death wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But what if the guy that got in an accident had a wife, four kids, two sets of parents from each side of the family, and also had six grand kids, and he was an uncle for twelve other kids. People see this guy and think he definitely deserves to live, since he has so many people to live for. The truth is though that no matter the person each one of these guys wanted to live, they don’t deserve to have their lives risked just by driving in a car that is not safe, but maybe it was the only vehicle that they could afford.
Does the good out-weigh the bad? Ford calculated what they would lose from all of the lawsuits. They figured out that they would lose two hundred thousand dollars for a burn death, sixty seven thousand dollars for burn injuries, and seven hundred dollars per vehicle. In the time of the pinto from 1971-1980 there were one hundred and eighty burn deaths, one hundred and eighty burn injuries, and two thousand one hundred burned vehicles. This ended up being forty nine and a half million dollars that ford lost from lawsuits. Now they also calculated how much it would cost to fix each vehicle. It would cost eleven dollars for the car, and for the truck. There were eleven million cars, and there were one and a half million trucks. This ended up being one hundred and thirty seven and a half million dollars. You see all of this money and you think how could Ford do something so ridiculous and not just make a little fix on the vehicle. They did not judge their lawsuits very well. One of ford’s lawsuits that they had to pay was three hundred and sixty nine million dollars in damages to one couple after they flipped their car multiple times after swerving away from something the road.
Ford should have thought about how their sales would have been affected in the future by the issues with the Pinto. The Ford Pinto had one major issue, and that was that when it was rear ended the gas tank would leak and could cause in explosion. When people are purchasing vehicles now days they still think back to the ford pinto and think that hopefully this same issue isn’t going to happen with this car. This has affected the sales of Ford vehicles. Other car manufacturers have not had these issues so customers feel much safer purchasing from one of these car brands rather than Ford that may have issues. If ford would have thought about their future they definitely would have spent the money to fix each one of the vehicles and then their sales would be doing a lot better today and they would not have lost as much money.
The NHTSA should have reacted faster to the problems that the Ford Pinto had. The NHTSA which stands for National Highway Traffic Safety Association didn’t know for sure what the issue was with the cars. They didn’t know that the issue was that the structure of the car was not strong enough to protect against rear end crashes. Also having the gas tank right behind the rear tire caused the gas tank to leak when struck by another vehicle. “Eventually the NHTSA decided to test the accidents to see what the real issue was. In May 1978 the Department of Transportation announced that the Pinto fuel system had a “safety related defect” and called for a recall. Ford agreed, and on June 9, 1978 the company recalled 1.5 million Pintos” (Pasquarello). This was way too late to save the reputation of Ford. In March of 1980 Ford was in a major lawsuit for criminal homicide charge and five months after the trial the production of the Pinto was ceased.
In conclusion, Ford should have thought about the people’s lives that were going to be lost from each one of the accidents that were caused by the poor built Ford Pinto. Ford shouldn’t have been able to put the Ford Pinto on the Market. There were many things that ford should have thought about including these things. Can you put a price on the human life? Does the good out-weigh the bad? Ford should have thought about how their sales would have been affected in the future by the issues with the Pinto. The NHTSA should have reacted faster to the problems that the Ford Pinto had. Although Ford made such a crucial mistake by not fixing the Pinto they now make great vehicles and they have shown that they are a very successful car company and they make quality vehicles.