Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nissan: Innovation That Kills (2014)

Nissan logo

Nissan's newly released model, the Datsun Go, was under fire from the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) in early November 2014. The NCAP conducted a study on the Datsun Go, and found that it could not achieve a mere one star rating in the most basic safety tests.
Max Mosley, head of the NCAP, asked Nissan’s chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn personally to, “…remove the car from sale and ratify massive design changes before the car could go on sale again, as in its current state it’s entirely unsafe for sale.” The Datsun Go has such terrible structural integrity, that any form of head on collision is likely to cause the death of all passengers.
In response to the NCAP, Nissan made a statement that said, "Datsun Go meets minimum required local vehicle regulations in India and was developed with a strong intention to deliver the best adapted solutions to the local conditions, from best in class braking and good visibility to durability, seat comfort and reduced motion sickness- all being taken as a package aim to decrease potential risk of road accidents."
In an attempt to save money, Nissan has built vehicles to sell specifically in developing nations that have obvious flaws in an effort to make a loftier profit. Yet, car companies often exaggerate the cost of outfitting a vehicle with a harder shell and two airbags; it would cost Nissan a mere $200 per Datsun Go.
NCAP published a major report in early March, calling for urgent action on vehicle safety. In said report, NCAP urged governments and insurance companies to provide fiscal incentives and discounts to car buyers who opt for safer models.
After feeling business threatened, Nissan agreed to strengthen the bodyshell and fit airbags on the Datsun Go.

StakeholdersThe main stakeholders involved are the citizens of India and all developing countries. These innocent people are being sold hazardous vehicles that could cause their death should they get into a car accident. Other stakeholders include NCAP's Max Mosley, as he runs the New Car Assessment Program and is held responsible for testing vehicles and determining whether or not they are suited for the public. Carlos Ghosn also has a large stake in the controversy because he is Nissan's CEO and is held accountable to all decision making when it comes to spending on vehicle safety.

Nissan "Datsun Go 2014 model

Individualism, also known as the economic theory, focuses on rights. It decides if there are any rights involved and if there are, what are the rights, and whose rights they are. Based on the individualistic outlook, the citizens of India have the basic right to be sold a vehicle that is safe. Given its zero star rating, in any other country, the Datsun Go wouldn't sell because of how precarious it is.Utilitarianism focuses on outcomes; short-term and long-term. It also focuses heavily on happiness and suggests that we ought to bring about happiness and pleasure in all beings capable of feeling it. In this scandal, Nissan was focused on their short-term outcome; putting the Datsun Go on the market and selling it to consumers to make a quick buck. This would have been a successful short-term plan, had it not been a plan that deceived the public. Nissan had the opportunity to sell a safe car which would make consumers happy, and did not. They had the chance to immediately apologize to the public and remove the vehicle, and did not.

Immanuel Kant created four basic principals of Kantianism: act rationally, allow and help people to make rational decisions, respect people, and be motivated by good will. Kant's theory also includes several ways to determine whether or not an action is coming from good will. Nissan had in mind a way to quickly make a profit for the company, which benefits the company itself and all of its employees. However, that doesn't mean that the were rational in doing so. Their motivation was blurred by greed, causing them to put the company's needs before the need of their patrons. Nissan did not help people to make rational decisions; they helped people purchase unsafe vehicles. The company also didn't respect India's people and their need for a reasonably priced vehicle that was also safe.

Virtue Theory
Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan

There are four main virtues of character including courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. Nissan was certainly courageous; but not in a good way. They took the risk ofbeing caught, and are now suffering the consequences. Honesty is the best policy, and when the iron fist came down on Nissan, the company came up with a statement that neither confirmed nor denied the accusation of knowingly selling the sub-par Datsun Go. Nissan could have been honest and apologized to their consumers. Temperance is usually referred to as some form of practice in which an action, thought, or feeling is held back. By letting gluttony get in the way, Nissan did not hold back the pressure to make money in light of greater societal good. Justice is based on hard work, quality products, good ideas, and fair practices. While the company may have worked hard to produce a large amount of vehicles to sell, the quality of the product was deficient. This is not a fair practice, and fortunately Nissan was caught.

Ethics Evaluation
As a consumer, I look up to companies that value their customers. A company that doesn't look at their clients as a business transaction, but as a relationship and trust building experience is one that I want to be involved with. By selling the destructive Datsun Go, fully aware of its lack of safety features and claiming that it was okay to sell the car in such a disparaging condition because there were not laws against it, proves that Nissan is not a company that cares about their customers in a respectful manner.While Nissan Motors Co., ranks second highest in the world for vehicle sales, the company's greatest downfall was when they attempted to sell a visibly sub-standard vehicle in India, the Datsun Go. Nissan failed to follow the Individualism, Utilitarian, Kantian, and Virtue theories; they didn't respect the consumer's rights, focused only on their short-term outcome of profits, didn't act rationally or respect their customer's safety, and violated all four main virtues of character. The company has a long haul to get back onto the good side of it's consumers, or else the company's slogan could change from, "Nissan: Innovation that Excites" to "Nissan: Innovation that Kills." 


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"Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Nissan Motor Co., Ltd." Reference for Business, 2015. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

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