The Ford Pinto is a relatively new car that Ford developed from the ashes of the Pinto, which was itself derived from the Ford Aerostar and the Ford Mustang. It is perhaps the perfect example of what can happen when corporate negligence meets good engineering. In the mid-late 1960s, Ford's then president Lee Iaccocca decided that his company wouldn't sit idly by while newer, more advanced Japanese competitors occupied the small-car sector.
This was a risky move, since Americans had been unhappy with small cars, particularly imports from Japan, since World War II. In addition, the Ford family was quite affluent, so it was hard to argue that they were in dire need of a better vehicle. In fact, the Ford family, especially Lee, was quite proud of their vehicle. In fact, the Pinto was a staple of many family outings. The Ford family was so much in love with the car that they finally decided to put the car on the market.
When the company released this new vehicle, they were hoping that their American consumers would fall in love with it. Although they succeeded in selling a fair number of Pintos, some owners took advantage of their popularity and decided to sell them for an even higher price than they paid. What happened next can only be described as corporate malfeasance. Instead of giving the Pinto a chance to shine, corporate America decided to sue Ford Motor Company for breach of contract.
As the case was proceeding, Ford decided to take out another commercial, which advertised the new Pinto for sale at a ridiculously high price. The ad showed the Pinto with all its bells and whistles, including a two-tone seat, a headrest that retracted in the front, and chrome alloy trim around the interior and doors. Some of these details were not even available on Ford's current models of small cars.
The company was so sure that the advertisement was going to fail that the ad was placed in more than one magazine. However, the ad failed to inform potential buyers that the ad was only meant to promote a different model. It was made to appear as if Ford was only available at a much higher price because they had decided to market a new model. Instead of a Pinto, it was advertised as a Ford Torino.
After this advertising campaign failed, the company made another attempt at advertising the Pinto in the United States. In one of the television commercials, it was shown that the Pinto was still the cheapest car in the world, but the Ford was only available at a hundred and sixty-five dollars! The ad ended up costing the company millions of dollars, which was later paid out in court.
To this day, the Ford name remains synonymous with cheap automobiles. In some ways, the Pinto has become synonymous with failure as well. The original Pinto has a bad reputation. Because of its high price tag, the Pinto was not a success. Many consumers are unhappy with the car's reliability and performance, and a great number have given up trying to find a car to drive.
Even the car dealership industry agrees with this assessment. Although Ford does sell the most Pintos in the U.S., the percentage of people who actually own a Pinto is significantly lower than those who own Ford's competitors. The Ford name still carries a bad stigma in many areas of life. If you want to buy a cheap car, avoid buying a Pinto, as it will end up costing you a fortune.
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