The Ethical Dilemma in the Ford Pinto Case
On August 10, 1978 three young girls died in a 1973 Ford Pinto after being stuck from the rear by a driver in a van. The Ford Pinto was completely engulfed in flames and the accident resulted in the death of the three young girls. Today, the debate continues regarding whether or not The Ford Motor Company was responsible for this case and many other cases involving the Pinto bursting into flames resulting in disfigurement or death. Ford has argued for over three decades that The Ford Motor Company is not at fault, but rather the other motorists who happened to rear end the Pinto drivers. Many accuse Ford of rushing the Pinto into production without proper testing leaving a faulty fuel system in the car that would rupture with any rear end collision or rollover accident; this resulted in the deaths of over 500 people. Many also accuse Ford of being fully aware of the faults with the Pinto and selling it to the public anyway. Letting the people die because of the Pinto and settling with their families was more economical than recalling the vehicle and fixing the shortcomings of the Pinto. The question remains regarding whether or not Ford put a price on human lives, or if the company was not at fault for simply trying to compete with foreign car companies to put an American made fuel efficient vehicle on the road. Ford was accused of not accounting for benefit and harm in an ethical business decision, zero personal evaluation, and a very high influence of outside factors. Ethical business decisions require consideration of two important factors, benefit and harm. Did the attorney for Ford Motor, James Neal act with ethical behavior while defending the automobile giant in 1978? Did Ford Motors and James Neal consider benefit and harm? With respect to advising the appropriate entities of the Ford Pinto defect, many opportunities existed for a number of employees to come forth with the truth....
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