In defense of Toyota despite its recall

Defending Toyota
Defending Toyota

You might have heard about something called the Pinto Memo. The Ford Motor Company created a formula for determining whether to recall the notorious Pinto hatchback for safety concerns. And by "safety concerns," I mean, "they would randomly explode during rear-end collisions."

The calculation basically determined that if the cost of a potential legal settlement was less the cost of a recall and subsequent modification of the exploding fuel tank, Ford wouldn't do the recall. The memo was famously referenced in Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club.

Ford estimated the potential cost of the recall at $121 million. The cost of leaving the exploding fuel tanks intact and facing potential litigation was projected to cost around $49 million. Quoting Galaxy Quest: "By Grabthar's Hammer, what a savings."

Originally published