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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 2145

The Ford motor company and the Pinto Gas Tank: A case study in corporate ethics

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY AND THE PINTO GAS TANK: A CASE STUDY IN CORPORATE ETHICS

5/3/2004

PURPOSE

        The decisions and actions made by management leading up to and following the introduction of a product into the marketplace affect all the stakeholders involved in some fashion.  As would be expected, some decisions are more important than others due to their nature and impact on the parties concerned.  The purpose of this paper serves to understand and evaluate the ethics behind the decisions made by the Ford Motor Company with respect to the Pinto car model with an emphasis on the ethics surrounding the safety of its gas tank.

SCOPE

         To accomplish this purpose, this paper will review the life cycle of the Pinto and the decisions the Ford Motor Company made with respect to the safety built in to this vehicle.  Therefore, the time period in question will be between the years of 1967 thru 1980 thus covering the design, development, market introduction and market withdrawal for the Pinto.  The government regulations or lack there of, placed on the automobile industry during this time period will also be discussed

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Middle

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Another downside to the car’s design was the placement of the Pinto’s fuel tank.  Ford obtained the rights to a design patent in 1961 that detailed a layout for gas tanks to “straddle” the rear axle that was said to prevent the tanks “from possible puncture or damage as a result of the vehicle dropping into holes or hitting obstructions.”6  Although the technology was readily available to place the gas tank safely over the axle of the car, the fuel tank on the Pinto was placed behind the rear axle just six inches away from the “ornamental” bumper.  The placement of the gas tank appears to have been decided upon by the styling department.  The claim was that the vehicle needed sufficient trunk space to place two sets of golf clubs in it, which wasn’t possible with the saddle-type positioning.7

In addition to all these design flaws, the tube leading from the tank to the gas-tank cap called the filler pipe was also poorly engineered.  Most cars of that era had filler pipes that would breakaway from the car bodies in the event of an accident.

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Conclusion

REFERENCES:

  1. Dowie, Mark.  “Pinto Madness.”  Mother Jones.  http://www.motherjones. com/news/feature/1977/09/dowie.html  (Sept. / Oct. 1977).
  2.  “Ford Pinto.”  Engineering.com.  http://www.engineering.com/content/ ContentDisplay?contentId=41009014.
  3.  Dowie,  “Pinto Madness.”
  4.  “Ford Pinto.”  Engineering.com.
  5.  Birsch, Douglas., & Fielder, H. John. “The Ford Pinto Case: A study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology.”  NY: State University of New York, 1994, pp. 44-53.
  6.  Birsch, & Fielder,  “The Ford Pinto Case: A study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology.”  p. 43.
  7.  Dowie,  “Pinto Madness.”
  8.  Birsch, & Fielder,  “The Ford Pinto Case: A study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology.”  pp. 44-51.
  9.  Birsch, & Fielder,  “The Ford Pinto Case: A study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology.”  p. 10.
  10.  Barber, Nigel. "Ford Pinto."  Encyclopedia of Ethics in Science and Technology.  http://www.fofweb.com/Subscription/Science/Helicon.asp?SID=2&iPin =ethics0168 (2002).
  11.  Birsch, & Fielder,  “The Ford Pinto Case: A study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology.”  p. 46.
  12.  Dowie,  “Pinto Madness.”
  13.  Barber,  "Ford Pinto."
  14.  Birsch, & Fielder,  “The Ford Pinto Case: A study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology.”  p. 51.
  15.  Birsch, & Fielder,  “The Ford Pinto Case: A study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology.”  p. 50.

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