Analyzing the Ford Motor Co versus Firestone Case Study Using the PDCA Cycle

  • 07 Pages
  • Published On: 21-12-2023


PDCA cycle refers to plan, do, check and act, where the companies try to develop strategic planning in order to achieve the future success. It is mainly an interactive design and management method utilised in the business for controlling and ensuring continuous improvement of the process and products. It is considered as problem solving approach of the organisation to meet the organisational mission and corporate objective (Carmo, Sacomano Neto, and Donadone, 2020). Ford Motor Co. versus Firestone case study is analysed through this essay where it is possible to identify the issues faced by both the companies in maintaining their product quality and service efficiency. The controversy related to Ford Motor Co. versus Firestone will be evaluated through the PDCA cycle, which further provides a scope to identify the issues in each stage of PDCA cycle and recommended further strategic planning, so that the issues can be tackled and avoided in near future.

Organisational background

Ford motor company is the American multinational automaker that produces automobiles, luxury vehicles, commercial vehicles, automotive parts, pickup trucks and SUVs. There are more than 186,000 employees and it is successful to strengthen their financial position in the global automotive industry where it has served Worldwide (Except Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Japan). It is the second best truck makers across the globe after General Motors and there are also several car models including personal use cars and light trucks. On the other hand, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company focus on sullying the rubber tires for wagons and buggies. It was a leader in the mass production of tires with their capabilities for automobile production. It has developed more than 8000 different types of tires for the vehicles ranging from passengers to agricultural equipment to race cars (Toma and Naruo, 2017). Hence, Firestone has the capability and experience to develop tires and the partnership with Ford was the best strategy to develop the cars with quality equipment and efficient services. Ford Motor and Firestone was in a partnership between two industry giants and both the companies trust each other for the quality products and automobile equipment to develop the best quality cars for the customers. The major controversy arose in the year of 2001, where more than 174 people were killed in the accidents and crashes involving the Ford Explorer Sport Utility Vehicle that have been equipped with the Freestone tires. Ford alleged that, it was a defective tire that led to the accidents and recalled more than 13 million tires for replacement (Carmo, Sacomano Neto, and Donadone, 2020).


Case study analysis through PDCA cycle

Through PDCA cycle, it is possible to analyse the case study and evaluate the controversy between Ford Motor and Firestone due to defective tires. The PDCA cycle refers to plan, do, check and act which further helps the organisation to develop good partnership and create strategic planning for achieving the corporate objectives. Ford Motor and Firestone aim at maximising their position in the global automotive industry by providing the best quality cars to the customers with innovative services (Carmo, Sacomano Neto, and Donadone, 2020). The PDCA cycle will be evaluated further to analyse the cases of Ford and Firestone in order to identify the issues and recommend further solutions to run the business ethically.


Ford Motor focused on developing partnership with Firestone to utilise their quality tires for the cars of Ford, so that it is possible to serve the customers with the best quality cars. There are more than 150 people died due to accidents for the defective tires and over 720 people were injured and Ford indicated that there was stability issue in producing the tires. They plan to utilise p235 ATX which is a bigger tires for the cars of Ford so that accidents could be minimised (Henares, 2020). Firestone has designed the p235 ATX tires especially for Ford cars with high centre of gravity and front suspension system that enhance the safety margin of 25-35 psi for the p235 ATX tires. They also plan to check the large size of the explorers recommended load was 750 to 1310 lbs so that it was possible to have increased passengers and cargo loads (Vargas, 2020). The major performance indicators in this stage of planning of utilising different tires of Firestone for the Fiord cars are average accidents on road, purchasing intention of the customers and revenue, so that Ford Company was able to identify the success factors of the new deigned Firestone tires (Carmo, Sacomano Neto, and Donadone, 2020). The key stakeholders engaged with this planning was CEO of both the company, technicians and management team as well as the internal employees of the companies, who try to work collaboratively for making the plan successful (Henares, 2020).


Both the companies are working as a partnership basis to produce the cars with the best quality equipment and automobile parts to serve the customers uniquely (Carmo, Sacomano Neto, and Donadone, 2020). However, as per the production and manufacturing the tires, quality supervisor team has been anointed and the report stated that the p235 ATX tire was worse quality than before as it did not meet the stability gaol and there were unethical practices in producing the tires (Lazdowski, 2020). Ford has decided to utilise new tires p245 ATX for developing their cars. In this case, the major problem was tread package separation from the tire carcases at 29 psi of the pressure. In doing the planning, Ford trust the production units of Firestone, but the major factor that went wrong was the tread separation which deytoriorat6e the quality of the tires for which accidents happened. The major stakeholders engaged with the activities of changing tires of Firestone and Ford initiative to utilise new tires are technician team and the operation management team, who handled the whole operations of replacing the tires (Henares, 2020). The major performance indicators for this stage were the numbers of accidents on road, success units of the cars, and the numbers of Ford cars utilised by the customers (Spreen, 2019). For doing the planning and implementing the new plan of utilising p245 ATX tires, Ford tries to focus son manufacturing units and develop assembly technique efficiently (Link, 2018).


Checking the planning to mitigate the issue is mandatory for Ford motor in order to reduce the rate of accidents. As per the analysis, there were ethical issues where Firestone did not focus on the quality of tires (Erickson et al., 2017). Tread separation refers to the tire tread peeled off from the body of the tire. Due to the interaction of steel and rubber tire elements, tread separation became a challenge in radial tire design (Carmo, Sacomano Neto, and Donadone, 2020). Once a tread separation begins, it can grow along with further circumference of the tire or laterally across the whole width of the tire leading to cracks that grow between the belts. Hence, through investigation and analysis, the major factor that went wrong is lack of ethical practice and poor supervisions about the tire quality. Due to tread separation, the tires cannot handle the car speed where the separation was aided by the centrifugal force of the spinning tire (Guinn, 2020). Vehicle with the tread separation tires were difficult to control specifically when the vehicles are moving at a high rate of speed. Hence, due to poor tire designs and tread separation, accidents happened (Erickson et al., 2017).

Additionally, tire age was another factor that went wrong in designing and making assembly of the tires with Ford cars. The belt wedge and skim rubber compounds change as they age. ATX and Wilderness ATX tires manufactured in Decatur started to fail between one and two years which led to accidents. Manufacturing differences and lack of awareness of the Ford Motors during assembly are also other issues that went wrong in manufacturing the Ford cars (Erickson et al., 2017). The CEO of the Ford Motor has announced that, it was not the car issue, rather the Firestone Tires issues, but as per the analysis, it can be stated that, during assembly it is the role of the technicians to identify and check the quality of tires, whether it is suitable for the car or not. The tires are the same as tank, air bags, steering, windshield and brakes and during the time of assembly, Ford should have checked that weather the tires were the same as high quality as other components. The major performance indicators in this stage must be revenue of the organisation, purchasing units of the cars, customer’s response and minimisation of the road accidents (Erickson et al., 2017). However, the organisation Ford had put little efforts in checking the tire quality and manufacturing process of the tires during assembly of the car, which lead to the critical issue of accidents. The major stakeholders engaged with the process were supervisor, quality checker, operational head and management team, technicians, where they were efficient to assemble the automotive units to develop the best quality cars (Carmo, Sacomano Neto, and Donadone, 2020).


After checking the existing issues, the company developed different strategy to run their business efficiently. The major tactic was to recall the cars for better management of their customers. In 2001, Ford announced a voluntary recall of all Wilderness AT tires of 15, 16, and 17 inches installed on all Ford trucks and SUVs. Additional, NHTSA also has issued a mandatory recall of 3.5 million P235/75R15 and P255/70R16 Wilderness AT tires manufactured prior to 1998 that were assembled in the Quebec or Wilson, Joliette, NC factories (Link, 2018). The majority of the accidents took place in Arizona, California, Texas, and Florida, where the organisation focused on recalling the cars for replacement of the tires and mitigate the issue of tire due to tread separation (Weixelbaum, 2018). The major acts that have been implemented in Ford were to recall the cars for replacement and anointing the supervision team for better tires to manufacture the cars. Key performance indicators in this stage must be the CEO of the company, operational management team and technicians as well as quality supervisor team members in order to recall the cars and check its quality and equipment.

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Conclusion and recommendations

From the above analysis it can be concluded that, Ford motors was a successful business with partnership of Firestone tires. However, the incident of rising numbers of accidents during 1990s deteriorate the brand values where Ford Motors was suffering from poor quality tires and also unethical practices due to lack of efficiency in assembling the automotive products to manufacture the final car. Firestone also replaced their tires with high volume and good quality tires, but the organisation Ford also faced problems due to tread separation which raised the numbers of accidents. Through PDCA cycle, it is possible to analyse the factors that went wrong for Ford motor which cause accidents and there were more than 720 people injured during that time and about 150 people died in accidents. The low quality tires with poor centre of gravity as well as tread separations were the major issues of this Ford Firestone controversy that led to unethical issues in the corporate world. For betterment of this critical situation, the organisation ford must hire supervision team who can check the quality of the equipment utilised to manufacture the Ford Motor cars. Additionally, Ford must concentrate on the equipment including tires, breaks, air bags and others in order to assemble the automotive parts that are suitable for their vehicles. For project planning and implementation of the process, it is necessary to develop a good team in the company so that the issue of mismanagement and poor communication can be resolved. In this regard, Ford must develop strong team including the technicians, automobile engineers and operational head who can check the quality of the parts during assembly. Moral and legal responsibility toward the stakeholders must be kept under the legislative structure and quality standard guidelines, so that Ford would be able to maintain the quality of the cars and also handle the safety of their customers in long run.

Reference List

Carmo, M.J.D., Sacomano Neto, M. and Donadone, J.C., 2020. Multiple dynamics of financialization in the automotive sector: Ford and Hyundai cases. Gestão & Produção, 27(4).

Erickson, S.L., Stone, M., Hanson, T.A., Tolifson, A., Ngongoni, N. and Kalthoff, J., 2017. Shareholder value and crisis communication patterns: An analysis of the ford and firestone tire recall. Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 16(1), pp.32-53.

Guinn, J., 2020. The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison's Ten-year Road Trip. London: Simon & Schuster.

Henares, H., 2020. Approach to corporate social responsibility management strategy: case comparison study of the United States Ford Motor Company and Germany’s BMW Group (Doctoral dissertation).

Lazdowski, Y.J., 2020. Persistence and Vigilance: A View of Ford Motor Company's Accounting Over Its First Fifty Years. London: Emerald Publishing.

Link, S., 2018. The Charismatic Corporation: Finance, Administration, and Shop Floor Management under Henry Ford. Business History Review, 92(1), pp.85-115.

Spreen, W., 2019. The Aerospace Business: Management and Technology. London: Routledge.

Toma, S.G. and Naruo, S., 2017. Total quality management and business excellence: the best practices at Toyota Motor Corporation. Amfiteatru Economic Journal, 19(45), pp.566-580.

Vargas, M.J., 2020. Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. at 100: The Enduring Legacy of Corporate Law's Most Controversial Case. Business Lawyer, 75(3).

Weixelbaum, J., 2018. At the Crossroads Of Fascism: The Decision of Ford, General Motors, and IBM to Do Business with Nazi Germany. London: American University.

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