Malcolm Gladwell reflects on engineering, recalls, and compromise
The article titled The Engineer's Lament is framed around an interview with the former head of Ford's recall office about the famous Ford Pinto campaign where the position of the compact's fuel tank could cause it to explode in rear-end collisions. Plus, there are detours into Toyota's unintended acceleration cases and the General Motors ignition switch problem. While all the history is illuminating, the heart of the story comes from an examination at the thought process of engineers, and how their thinking differs from other professions.
Gladwell comes off as sympathetic to auto engineers in this piece. While he admits that they often approach problems in a sterile way, the writer doesn't try point that out as a failing. It's merely a fact to be understood. The story itself is quite lengthy, but well worth a read if you have the time for an insiders view into how these recalls are assessed on the inside.
- Most and least efficient car companies
- Fastest-depreciating cars in the United States
- Find and compare 2017 Models