In the 1970’s Ford Motor Company was faced with a questionable decision regarding the production and introduction of the Ford Pinto (Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, 2006). The introduction of the Ford Pinto was Ford’s attempt at producing a stylish and affordable subcompact vehicle that possessed lower operating costs (Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, 2006). The Pinto was rushed into production at a faster rate so the Ford Motor Company could remain in the lucrative subcompact car competition with strong competition coming from Volkswagen (“The Ford Pinto”, 1982).
While producing the Pinto, Ford’s upper management made a questionable decision regarding the positioning and protection of the fuel tank (Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, 2006). Alternatives for a safer fuel tank with more protection and a safer location were available to Ford’s top-level managers at the time; however customer affordability (and style) took precedence over the consumer’s safety (Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, 2006).
Ford Motor Company restricted their engineers throughout the production of the Pinto some of the restrictions included mandating the cost of the Pinto be $2000. 0 and the weight of the Pinto be no more than 2000 pounds (Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, 2006). The restrictions were met and Ford Motor Company discovered the defect regarding the fuel tank and fuel system while conducting the pre-production crash tests; these tests revealed that rear-end collisions, even at low rates of speed, would rupture the fuel system leading to exploding gas tanks (“The Ford Pinto”, 1982). The machines on the assembly line had already been tooled for production when the defect was discovered and Ford officials made the decision of continuing production Pinto as it was (“The Ford Pinto”, 1982).
At the time, Ford had half a million vehicles produced on assembly lines yearly with the Pinto being the biggest selling subcompact car in America making Ford’s operating profit substantial (“The Ford Pinto”, 1982). Mission, Value, and Guiding Principles Ford Motor Company’s mission, value, and guiding principles hold them to a high standard that needs to be met by all employees to ensure company success. Ford’s mission is “One Team, One Plan, One Goal”, which is their outline for success (“Ford Mission And Values”, 2012). One Team” is one team working together to achieve automobile leadership that is measured by customers, employees, dealers, investors, suppliers, unions/councils, and communities satisfaction (“Ford Mission And Values”, 2012).
“One Plan” is the restructuring to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix, accelerating development of new products customers want and value, finance plan and improve balance sheet, and work together effectively as one team (“Ford Mission And Values”, 2012). One Goal” is an exciting viable Ford delivering profitable growth for all (“Ford Mission And Values”, 2012). Ford Motor Company also outlines the expected behaviors; these serve as the company’s values and guiding principles. Ford uses the acronym FORD to define these expected behaviors in explanation. These values are “foster functional and technical excellence”.
This means knowing and having a passion for the business and customers, demonstrating and building functional and technical excellence, ensuring process discipline, and having continuous improvement philosophies and practices (“Ford Mission And Values”, 2012). The “O” in the acronym stands for “own working together”, which means believe in skilled and motivated people working together, including everyone; respect, listen to, help and appreciate others, build strong relationships; being a team player; developing yourself and others, and communicating clearly, concisely and candidly (“Ford Mission And Values”, 2012).
Ford goes on to define expected behaviors with “role model Ford values”, which means showing initiative, courage, integrity and good corporate citizenship, improve quality, safety and sustainability, have a can do, find a way attitude and emotional resilience, enjoying the journey and each other; have fun-never at other’s expense (“Ford Mission And Values”, 2012).
The final part of the Ford’s expected behaviors is “deliver results” this means deal positively with business realities; develop compelling and comprehensive plans, while keeping an enterprise view, set high expectations and inspire others, make sound decisions using facts and data, and being held responsible and accountable for delivering results and satisfying customers (“Ford Mission And Values”, 2012).
According to these missions, values, and guiding principles, Ford did not live up to or meet their standard in regard to the production of the Pinto. Yes, Ford did accelerate the development of the Pinto, but the acceleration was provided by management trying to get an edge on the market. The acceleration in the production of the Pinto was purely for profit and customer’s lives or safety was not the concern. This shows that all of the missions, values, and guiding principles have to be implemented to balance the production out.
Ford put their worth and value before the worth and value of their customers and assigned a “cost-benefit analysis” dollar value to their customers, this was done rather than making the necessary adjustments to the production of the Pinto (“The Ford Pinto”, 1982). Team Values As a team, it was determined that Ford’s values were in the wrong position. Ford was primarily focused on the production of the Pinto for their benefit and did not think about or care about the lives of their consumers.
Once the defect was found, Ford continued to manufacture the vehicle with little regard to the damage the vehicle caused the consumer. Ford developed the “cost-benefit analysis” formula and placed a value on a human life rather than making the necessary adjustments to produce a safe vehicle. Ford could have retooled the machines on the assembly line after the defect was discovered; this would have stopped defected Pintos from being produced and sold possibly putting consumers in danger. Ford also should have kept the standard schedule of production for the Pinto rather than rushing it through.
The limitations and restrictions placed on the engineers also should not have been in place. The engineers know the vehicles they produce and what will or will not work, by limiting them by cost, style, and weight may put consumers in jeopardy. Ford knew of the defect and still produced vehicles with the defect for eight more years, the only reason they stopped was to become compliant with the new federal standard (“The Ford Pinto”, 1982). As a team it is agreed that there were many steps the Ford Motor Company could have taken to prevent or lessen this tragedy.