• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 3910

Legal and Ethical Analysis of Ford Pinto

Extracts from this document...


MBA C601

Legal and Ethical Analysis of Ford Pinto

Derek Koga




On Tuesday August 9, 1977, Herbert L Misch, vice president of environmental and safety engineering at Ford Motor Company (Ford), read an unfavorable article entitled “Pinto Madness” published by Mother Jones magazine (1).  This self-styled radical magazine had cited ford “secret documents’ which, according to the author, proved the company had known for eight years that the Pinto was a “firetrap” (2).

The article claimed that preproduction rear-end crash tests had revealed the dangerous nature of the design and placement of the car’s fuel tank (3). The magazine article claimed that Ford was so anxious to get the car on the market that it decided design changes would not be made and would “take too much time and cost too much money” (4). The article further charge that Ford had used “some blatant lies” to delay enactment of a government safety standard that would have forced Ford to change the Pinto’s “fire-prone” gas tank (5). The article concluded: “by conservative estimates, Pinto crashes have caused 500 burn deaths to people who would not have been seriously injured if the car had not burst into flames” (6).

Nothing in Ford’s records supported the contentions made in the article. Nevertheless, Misch knew that the overall effect of this Mother Jones’ article, one that relied heavily on the testimony of a former Ford engineer, could be highly damaging to the company (7). It would also sharpen consumer criticism of the US auto industry in general and Ford in particular. Misch and his associates at Ford were angered by the allegations and are ready to denounce the article as “unfair and distorted” (8).

...read more.


Is it legal to refute warrantable products?


Legal Issue 1 & 2

The law of products liability is found mainly in common law, state judge-made law, and in the Uniform Commercial Code. Article 2 of the UCC deals with the sales of goods and it has been adopted by most states. In it, the most important products liability sections are the implied and express warranties of merchantability in the sales of goods §§ 2-314 and 2-315 (ILL).

Products liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product. This includes the manufacturer of component parts, at the top of the chain, an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail store owner, at the bottom of the chain. Many states have enacted comprehensive products liability statutes. These statutory provisions can be very diverse such that the United States Department of Commerce has promulgated a Model Uniform Products Liability Act (MUPLA) for voluntary use by the states. There is no federal products liability law (ILL).

Since that time, businesses have operated under an understanding that because they knowingly market products which affect the interests of consumers, they owe a legal duty of caution and prudence to consumers. Since manufacturers may foresee potentially harmful product effects, they are responsible for attempting to minimize harm.

Establishing this legal duty between the manufacturer and the consumer made it possible for plaintiffs to argue the negligent breach of that duty. These principles are now accepted throughout the country and followed by all American courts. Eventually, the concept of "inherently dangerous" products fell into disuse and the concept of negligence was expanded beyond production to include labeling, installation, inspection, and design.

...read more.


It was also ethically obligated to warn customers of the inherent dangers of rear-impact fires in small cars with this type of fuel system design and to offer customers the choice of paying more for increased safety. A Ford education program might well have encouraged a more focused consumer movement to compel industry-wide standards that would have ensured all manufacturers produced safer small vehicles. Ford, which would have done a service to the consumer at large, would also face a level playing field among its competitors.

As a moral musing, it would be interesting to make Ford managers and engineers drive the Pinto, or be on the receiving end of a rear-end collision. Ford’s protracted failure to acknowledge the safety risks in its Pintos is especially troubling from an ethical standpoint. Ford and its managers appear utterly cut off from the real human beings who lived and died in their products. They should be compelled to personally apologize to the victims’ family members for making a terrible decision and a defective product which killed or injured their loved ones.


Davidson, D. (1984). Managing Product safety: The Ford Pinto. Harvard Business School, 383-129.

(1) Ibid.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid.

(4) Ibid.

(5) Ibid.

(6) Ibid.

(7) Ibid.

(8) Ibid.

(9) Ibid.

(10) Ibid.

(11) Ibid.

(12) Ibid.

(13) Ibid.

(14) Ibid.

(15) Ibid.

(16) Ibid.

(17) Ibid.

(18) Ibid.

(19) Ibid.

(20) Ibid.

(21) Ibid.

(22) Ibid.

(23) Ibid.

(24) Ibid.

(25) Ibid.

(26) Ibid.

(27) Ibid.

(28) Ibid.

(29) Ibid.

(30) Ibid.

(31) Ibid.

(32) Ibid.

(33) Ibid.

(34) Ibid.


Wikipedia. (n.d.) Product Liability. Retrieved on February 3, 2007 from  


Beasley, D.J. (2000). Product liability: manufacturing defects vs. design defects. FindLaw library. Retrieved February 3, 2007, from http://library.lp.findlaw.com/articles/file/00752/003315/title/Subject/topic/Injury

(LII) Legal Information Institute. (n.d.) Products liability law: an overview. Legal Information Institute.  Retrieved February 3, 2007, from http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/index.php/Products_liability

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Gary's (and other) Car Sales section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Gary's (and other) Car Sales essays

  1. Used Cards - find which factors will influence the price of a second hand ...

    Eventually I ended up deleting about 50% of the original data for each car, leaving me with the following: Car make Number of cars Mercedes 19 Ford 19 Here is the data that I will continue to explore with and provide spearman's rank with: Ford Data Car Make Model Price

  2. Maths - statistical driving test

    I will plot a scatter graph of all the data that I obtain and then plot a separate scatter graph based on my stratified sample of students. If my hypothesis is correct I expect to see negative correlation in all the scatter graphs.

  1. Car sales

    price of Mercedes and the age, I know this because the R2 amount is equal to just below 0.5, and this means that it is strong correlation. The gradient from the graph equals: Y= -2047.9x + 28767 This means that, based on my data, I have found out that for

  2. Used second hand cars

    So I can only conclude the following make of the cars in the shown quantities. Make of the car Quantity of the car(s) BMW 1 Citroen 1 Daewoo 1 Hyundai 1 Mitsubishi 1 Nissan 2 Peugot 2 Renault 2 Volkswagen 2 Fiat 3 Rover 4 Vauxhall 4 Ford 5 Although

  1. Gerald Ford President Ford was born on July 14th, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska. He ...

    Ford was fairly popular though there were two assassination attempts on his life. He is also remembered as a person who stumbled in public and hit onlookers with golf balls. His first goal, when he became President, was to curb inflation; then a recession became a serious problem.

  2. Factors affecting price of Used Car

    This graph shows a positive correlation. It has a gradient of 2954.2. It seems as though its engine has a low value compared to Ford and Vauxhall. This graph also shows a positive correlation but this one looks a bit steeper.

  1. Maths coursework - car prices

    of best fit where I will rearrange the numbers and interpret the equation. I will then comment on the graphs e.g. if it shows a negative correlation and relate it back to my hypothesis. Also Im going consider two factors for depreciation, to find out the depreciation of the age

  2. Marketing Strategy Of Ford

    There was a recent dramatic increase of dealerships in North America that have been open on Saturdays which is the busiest retail day of the week. They are also opening convenient Quick Lane and Quality Care service Centers across the U.S.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work