Case Study Ford Pinto

711 Words 3 Pages
In the late 60’s the Ford Motor Company was faced with unyielding competition from its Japanese rivals in the race to the ideal compact car. In effort to keep up the Ford came out with the Ford Pinto, but the timeline from design to finish product was rushed due to Ford’s desire to have the car available quickly costing hundreds of people to lose their lives.
Before the Pinto became what it is there were numerous tests done to see if the car would pass the National Highway Safety Administration safety standards (Shaw). All the prototypes Ford tests failed the crash-tests, which resulted in ruptured gas tanks and dangerous gasoline leaks leading to fires. Knowing all this information Ford decided to go through with producing the Pinto without
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Adding additional costs to the Pinto when the car passes government standards and only a small percentage of Pinot drivers that died from a crash gave Ford enough power to go ahead with making the cars because the cost to fix all of the Pintos greatly outweighed the cost to not fixing them.
Sandel uses the Ford Pinto case to criticize utilitarianism because in the case a cost analysis system is used and all the factors are placed on a single scale and translated into monetary value. The cost-benefit analysis showing the different outcomes of redesigning a faulty fuel tank lead Ford to make the decision that they would not fix the fuel tank and continue to sell the car as is.
This is where utilitarianism theory fails because not everyone’s perspective on what is right and what is wrong are the same. The company thought that raising production costs would be less beneficial to society because the cost was not worth the benefit. However, to someone else the cost of fixing the problem is worth the extra money associated with making the car safer. In the end Fords decision to ignore the problem caused ~500 deaths from fuel tank explosions in Ford
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Doing what maximizes happiness often leads to a minority being ignored or not getting what is best for them. This can be shown in the ford case how a majority of people (the company and customers) will not be affected by the deaths associated with the fuel tank, but the ‘minority’ of people that are killed because of the faulty fuel tank don’t get what is best for them. Individual rights to life and happiness are violated under utilitarianism it is too difficult to compare the utility of things between

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