Re: Should @Will not fix your computer
No. That is absolutely not what occurred. The actual events have were summarized and targeted to grab headlines, no different than today. Engineering manufacturing equipment is my field, so I feel quite confident in summarizing the actual events. I'll explain fully momentarily, but do me a favor, please.
I would prefer you not call my valuations of Human life into question. I have lost astonishingly large fortunes by refusing to deliberately put people in harms way. I've also spent several more large fortunes and created lifelong enemies by using my resources and leverage to stop others from creating dangerous situations. You can hate me, call me anything you like and even make fun of or insult my kids, wife or mom, I don't mind, they can handle themselves. But how I value Human life is off limits. Cool? Have an upvote for considering my request.
The issue you refer to was not the result of an engineer informing management of a potential problem only to have it buried by management. That's how it was portrayed in the media of the time, but shifting emphasis using polarizing language wasn't invented by Fox News or the Daily Mail you know :)
What actually occurred was part of the continuous process improvement that all manufacturers engage in. In automobiles, Engineers are constantly looking at ways to improve something about the manufacturing of the car and the items identified as possible changes are ranked and categorized and after a fairly lengthy process some of those items might be put into production at the next scheduled line stoppage.
Although there are formal processes for versioning of production output, there's a shitload of spit balling too: Quite similar to brainstorming. Everybody just hucks possibilities onto the list then the list is subdivided and sent to the appropriate team responsible for each major subsystem of the car. The individual lists and the impacts of individual line items are analyzed and ranked then everything is recompiled to reflect all the information and that document is sent up to senior operations people where final decisions are made.
Potential safety concerns are always considered and never removed from any of the lists precisely because it looks really bad if a safety related item is deleted & injury/death occurs.
Do you know who else looks at the issues on those lists outside of the car company? It's the same industry where I do a lot of my headhunting for best in field Engineers. Commercial liability insurance companies. An enormous portion of the worlds best Engineers work for commercial liability insurance companies. That's done so that other best in field Engineers such as myself and my staff can't engage in shenanigans and expose the insurer to liabilities hidden inside highly technical information. It has been that way since soldiers wore wide brim helmets, calling someone a 'Nip' wasn't derogatory and airplanes had silk wings and no enclosed cockpit. In other words, for the vast majority of the time since automobiles were a thing.
And now we're getting into some juicy stuff that the fear mongers don't like to discuss. See, the potential risk of the filler neck on Pinto fuel tanks failing and causing serious injury and/or death was looked at, just like every other safety related item on the lists. We'll never get to see the entirety of those lists as the courts ruled them trade secrets not to be disclosed to the public, but it really doesn't matter. The filler neck issue, the large rear class and rear body pillars that might allow the rear of the car to crumple under significant impact, the doors that could become stuck closed if the rear of the car crumpled sufficiently and many other things had all been assessed and found to be of insufficient risk to warrant change.
Internal Ford Engineering Councils had approved the findings unanimously, which doesn't always occur, and the insurance Engineers had also all agreed and that's a really big deal because their employers (insurance companies) want them to find absolutely anything they can use to justify increasing their rates.
In my earlier lost you may have noticed I used a lot of European automakers in my example. That wasn't by accident. When the safety issues had been analyzed earlier the comparison data had come largely from Europe, simply because wee tiny cars had already been on the roads there for decades. The whole Pinto, Vega, Gremlin miniature car idea was rather new the US, so there wasn't a lot of data available about small cars in the US.
Using that data, it was evident that the safety risks about the Pinto were so sufficiently small that attempting to change things could very well create new risks that may not be as small. Furthermore, the Pinto had several safety features related to the fuel tank that were superior to similar implementations in use in Europe and those features were quietly adopted by every significant car manufacturer in Europe. So that's neat, huh? If you were alive in the early 1980's in Europe it's is a near certainty that you rode around in cars with fuel tanks based on the Pinto design.
At the end of the day, yes, Ford and its insurer are responsible for the Pinto fires, injuries and deaths related to the cars catching fire. It is however, absolutely false for anyone to position the issue as the result of a financial decision or a conspiracy to endanger people to save some money.
Sound engineering and testing coupled with, at the time what was the worlds best continuous process improvement practices were followed. The data used was the best available and even today there's no way to accurately forecast huge market shifts in unexpected directions. Nobody, absolutely nobody, foresaw the general public adopting some of the largest non-commercial automobiles ever built and using them as daily drivers. It was baffling to everyone because the small car class the Pinto belonged to was created specifically to reflect consumer concerns about fuel efficiency. People coming out and buying extremely expensive vehicles with zero luxuries or ease of use options that got, no shit, about 4 MPG - Highway, made no sense then, and it still doesn't now. One of the most profitable moves the Big 3 ever made was making trucks nice, and scaling everything down to suit women's smaller size. That didn't happen until the 1990's because everyone believed the whole truck thing to be a fluke.
As with so many other things, people accept 'collective knowledge', the 'everybody knows' stories as fact and never investigate the actual events themselves. It's a shame too, as that's the entire idea behind recording information: So people can look back and learn from the experiences of others.