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Pinto Fires Case Essay

736 words - 3 pages


The assumption that ‘it’s easy to be ethical’ assumes that individuals automatically know that they are facing an ethical dilemma and that they should simply choose to do the right thing. But decision makers may not always recognize that they are facing a moral issue. Rarely do decisions come with waving red flags. Dennis Gioia was recall coordinator at Ford Motor
Company in the early 1970s when the company decided not to recall the Pinto despite dangerous
fires that were killing the occupants of vehicles involved in low-impact rear-end collisions. In his information and overloaded recall coordinator role, Gioia saw thousands of accident reports, and he followed a ...view middle of the document...

The ends for Ford were new sub-compact cars which could compete with foreign imports. The means were limited design time and reducing costs. By cutting costs, Ford knowingly created a product which could prove dangerous and fatal to its consumers. Does Ford’s ends justify its means? Ford did create a sub-compact that sold extremely well and competed fiercely with foreign imports. The goal of the Ford Pinto was met. The costs of this win were substantial however. The money that Ford tried to save by not recalling the vehicle was spent when Ford recalled the Pinto, and extra was spent in compensatory and punitive damages in lawsuits. So the costs that Ford tried to avoid were incurred anyway along with extra.
A similar ethical concept to Utilitarianism is that of Rawl’s Theory of Justice. Within his theories he states that for something to be both ethical and just it must not infringe on the basic rights and liberties of a person, nor give advantage to any one group but to all with positions and offers available to all equally. In reference to the Ford Pinto, the second statement is upheld. The Pinto being a relatively cheap car which...

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