Ford Pinto Case

1054 Words 5 Pages
The cases involving the explosion of Ford Pinto's due to a defective fuel system design led to the debate of Ford’s use of their a cost-benefit analysis and its decision not to upgrade the fuel system based on this analysis. Ford failed its consumers by not applying risk management during the initial design of the Ford Pinto. Instead it calculated risk based on a strictly functional view which would result in Ford defending their decision based on their cost-benefit analysis. In comparison the United Illuminating Company principals of managing risk by establishing a risk framework, identify risk events, assessing risk, planning risk response strategies and monitoring and controlling risk would have been more appropriate. While many feel …show more content…
It was located behind the rear axle, instead of above it. This was initially done in an effort to create more trunk space. The problem with this design, which later became evident, was that it made the Pinto more vulnerable during rear-end collision. This vulnerability was enhanced by other features of the car such protruding bolts from nearby brackets. The gas tank and the rear axle were separated by only inches. There were also bolts that were positioned on the rear differential in a manner that threatened the gas tank. Finally, the fuel filler pipe design resulted in a higher probability that it would become disconnected from the tank in the event of an accident, causing gas spillage that could lead to dangerous and deadly fires (Wojdyla, 2011). Because of these numerous design flaws, the Pinto became the center of public …show more content…
However, Lee Iacocca’s strict targets goals and pressure to design a small car quickly led his team of designers to overlook establishing a risk frame work and identifying the risk (2007). As a result the designer would stick to the current method of gas tank placement behind the axle which would prove to be deadly to its consumers. If the design team had an established risk framework they may have been able outline clear expectations of the project and identify the risk associated with the placement of the gas tank during the initial design phase. Additionally, they could have built a safer vehicle and implemented the 11 dollar solution (Wojdyla, 2011) which would have placed the gas tank in a safer location before production. This design would have prevented explosions during low speed rear end collisions. Instead, Ford was forced to react to assessing the risk (2007) and had to justify why they did not install the safer 11 dollar modification. Ford claimed the modification would have cost 113 million dollars but the cost to pay out accident liability suits would have cost them 49 million dollars. Using this reasoning violates the United Illuminating Company principals for risk success, in that Ford did not stay focused on what matters to customers, stakeholders, and regulators (2007). However, from a cost-benefit analysis it mathematically made sense to continue production Pinto

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