Ford Pinto Case

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Date Submitted: 06/12/2014 12:45 PM

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The Ford Pinto Case

In the late 1960’s Ford Motor Company wanted to produce a small model car to compete with small Japanese and German imports like Volkswagen, Datsun and Toyota (Danley). In 1969 Ford’s Board approved the plan to produce the Pinto. The CEO, Lee Iacocca, wanted a car that was low weight, under 2,000 pounds, and low cost, under $2,000. Lee “Iaccoca imposed the 2000/2000 rule, i.e., the Pinto could weigh no more than 2000 pounds and cost no more than $2000” (Danley). The engineers had about two years to design and manufacture a product. The 1971 Pinto went into production in 1970. The quick turnaround of the Ford Pinto was huge as the normal time frame to bring a new product to market was about three and a half years. Due to the quick design and production of the Ford Pinto, the car was not put through the normal tests until after production. When put through the rear-end test, it was determined to be below normal standards for cars of that size. For cars of this size, the standard was to place the fuel tank above the rear axle. However, Ford felt placing the gas tank above the rear axle didn’t leave enough trunk space. Therefore, the fuel tank on the Pinto was placed behind the rear axle, close to the back bumper. The design was such that if the car was impacted from the rear at 20 miles per hour or greater, a bolt would puncture the tank and possibly cause the car to erupt in flames.

Ford Motor Company was determined to continuing manufacturing the Pinto knowing there were safety concerns when involved in a rear-end crash. Since the Pinto was selling Ford wanted to continue production. Consumers were, in the beginning, winning as they were able to purchase affordable transportation. Consumers soon learned that the Pinto was not as great as they first imagined. The longer the car was in circulation, the more rear-end crashes that occurred where the occupants of the car were greatly injured/burned or died in a fire due to the...