The Ford Pinto Case Study

The development of a new car should primarily take into consideration the interests and needs of customers along with their safety, whereas safety should be prior to other factors that influence the design of the car and comfort of drivers and passengers. In actuality, leading companies are extremely concerned with the safety of their cars, while Ford Pinto definitely ignored the potential threat to the life and health of people using this car, even though engineers and managers of the company were aware of the potential threat of the car. In this respect, it should be said that the company should pay more attention to the problem of safety and install the baffle in Ford Pinto that would save life and health of people.

In fact, the case of Ford Pinto perfectly illustrates the priority of financial profits over safety issues, which the company totally ignored. In such a context, it is possible to speak about a strategic error of the company because Ford did not take into consideration possible effects of the ignorance of the problem of safety in Ford Pinto. At this point, the installation of the baffle would solve the problem of safety and, taking into consideration, effects of the decision which was taken by the company, it is obvious that the introduction of such a technological improvement would allow the company to save costs it had to spend on compensations to customers. Hence, the installation of the baffle is the only logical decision Ford should have taken before the mass production of Ford Pinto.

In this respect, it is important to pay attention to external social pressure on the company. Originally, the company supposed that compensations to people, who could suffer from the low safety of the car, would be insignificant compared to the costs of the installation of the baffle. However, it is obvious that the negligence concerning the safety of customers of the company would lead not only to direct financial losses from compensations the company had to pay to customers injured because of the law safety of Ford Pinto. What is more important is the public image of the company and the customer attitude toward the company. In such a context, the ignorance of customer safety was crucial for the company because ignoring the safety of customers the company had put under a threat its brand image. Customers were naturally disappointed in the company and its products after numerous reports concerning the low safety of Ford Pinto. In fact, customers, could not feel safe while using Ford cars. As a result, they would naturally prefer other cars produced by other manufacturers which could be safer and more reliable. Therefore, the company would lose its customers, while customer loyalty would decrease substantially.

In such a context, the decision to refuse from the baffle was motivated by a short-run prospect of high revenues from mass sales of Ford Pinto. At the epoch, it seemed to be a logical decision, but it could not be justified in a long-run perspective. In the course of time, the company had to install baffle to secure customers and avoid potential problems. The experience of the company has proved that the installation of the baffle is the correct decision of the problem of safety of customers and related ethical issues.

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