When an early model of the Pinto was crash tested it was found that when struck

When an early model of the pinto was crash tested it

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end collision pushed it against the axle. When an early model of the Pinto was crash-tested, it was found that, when struck from behind at 20 miles per hour or more, the gas tank would sometimes break open. Gas would then spray out and enter the passenger compartment as well as under and around the car. In a real accident, stray sparks could explosively ignite the spraying gasoline and fire might engulf and burn the occupants, particularly if, as often happened in accidents, the doors jammed, trapping the victims. Ford managers decided, nonetheless, to go ahead and manufacture the Pinto without changing the gas-tank design. There had several reasons for their decision. First, the design met all the legal and government standards then in effect. At the time, government regulations required that a gas tank only remain intact in a rear-end collision of less than 20 miles per hour. Second, Ford managers felt that the car was comparable in safety to several of the cars other companies were making and putting on the market. Third, according to an internal cost– benefit study by Ford, modifying the Pinto would be more costly than leaving its design unchanged. The study stated that approximately 12.5 million of the autos would eventually be built. Modifying the gas tank of each Pinto would cost about $11 a unit. The total costs of modifying all the Pintos the company need $137 million.
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