IN 1971, FORD Motor Company introduced the Pinto as its entry into the subcompact market. Fighting strong competition for the lucrative smallcar market, Ford rushed the Pinto into production in much less than the usual time.

Ford engineers discovered in pre-production crash tests that rear-end collisions would rupture the Pinto's fuel system. Because assembly-line machinery was already tooled when engineers found this defect, Ford officials decided to manufacture the car anyway, even though

Ford owned the patent on a much safer gas tank. For more than eight years, Ford successfully lobbied against a key government safety standard that would have forced the company to change the Pinto's gas tank.

Pinto crashes caused between 500 and 900 burn deaths to people who would not have been seriously injured if ...

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