What Ford automobile had a fuel tank that could explode in rear-end collisions?
The subcompact car was hugely popular In the 1970s, so the Ford Motor Company introduced one of its own, the Pinto. Initially, it was a success, selling 100,000 units in its first five months of production. However, its rear bumper was decorative at best, so if a rear-end collision was strong enough, the fuel tank would explode. The car was soon dubbed "the barbecue that seats four" by critics, but the damage to Ford's reputation was made worse when Mother Jones magazine ran a cost-benefit analysis written by the company's management. The memo found that fixing the deadly flaw would cost the company $121 million, while paying out-of-court settlements to grieving relatives was a bargain at a mere $50 million. Ever cognizant of the bottom line, the Pinto was sent into the marketplace unchanged. It was eventually discontinued in 1980.
SOURCE: Pinto Madness | Mother Jones