Cadillac Chips

TitleCadillac Chips
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsHarris, CE, Pritchard, MS, Rabins, MJ
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAcknowledging , ENGINEERING , ENVIRONMENTAL ethics , product , product liability , safety
AbstractCharged with installing computer chips that resulted in emitting excessive amounts of carbon dioxide from their Cadillacs, General Motors agreed in December 1995 to recall thousands of their cars and pay nearly $45 million in fines and recalls. The computer chip was added to solve the problem of the car stalling when when the climate control system was runnning. The chips injected additional fuel into the engine whenever the system was running, also leading to excess pollution from tailpipe emissions. Although cars are usually driven with the climate control system running, tests for certifying the meeting of emission standards were conducted when the system was not running. This was standard practice at the time for emission tests throughout the automotive industry. However the EPA argued that under the Clean Air Act, GM should have informed them that the Cadillac's design had been changed in a way that result in violating pollution standards.
NotesCase from Harris, Charles, Michael Pritchard and Michael Rabins. Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2000. Available from the Wadsworth website.
Abbreviated Case NameCadillac Chips
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