Corperate Greed Never Left the Auto Industry
In the 1970s, auto executive Lee Iacocca was working at Ford Motors. He was tasked at bringing the Ford Pinto into production in record time – 25 months. Normally it took nearly four years from conception of a car to the show room. This car had to weigh under 2,000 pounds and sell for under $2,000. This set the stage for the most dangerous car, that was advertised as care free, to explode if rear ended.
1970s Ford Pinto Gas Tank Defect
There was a defect in the design of the gas tank. However, Ford Motors did a cost benefit analysis that compared fixing the defect or paying out on lawsuits. Lawsuits won with a maximum risk of $49 million is lawsuit losses versus an expense of as much as $137 million if Ford recalled the Pinto and fixed it.To save around 90 million dollars Ford knowingly and willingly put the customers that trusted the auto icon at grave risk.
Is history getting ready to repeat itself?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked Chrysler to recall and repair 2.7 million jeeps after completing a lengthily investigation into certain models of Jeeps, 1993 through 2004 Grand Cherokees and 2002 through 2007 Jeep Liberty models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims the Jeeps are unsafe and the plastic gas tanks located behind the rear axles of the two models can be punctured and cause a fire or explosion.
Chrysler Refuses to Recall Jeeps
Although the car maker moved the gas tank in later designs of the car, the company maintains that the SUVs are safe and complied with federal safety regulations in effect at the time the cars were manufactured. In addition, Chrysler claims that the rate of gas tank fires is statistically insignificant compared to similar models made in those years. As a result they have refused to perform the recall.
NHSTA has the option of calling for public hearings and then issuing a recall. But, the recall is not binding without a court order to enforce.
Fiat is the new owner of Chrysler. During the time that these models were manufactured the company was under different ownership. Political and economic forces surrounding the auto industry make it unlikely for a recall to be issued.
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