The Ford Pinto is a subcompact car that was manufactured and marketed by Ford Motor Company in North America, sold from the 1971 to the 1980 model years. The smallest American Ford vehicle since 1907, the Pinto was the first subcompact vehicle produced by Ford in North America; the Pinto was also the first mass-produced American car sold with rack and pinion steering.
The Pinto was marketed in three body styles through its production: a two-door fastback sedan with a trunk, a three-door hatchback, and a two-door station wagon. Mercury offered rebadged versions of the Pinto as the Mercury Bobcat from 1975 to 1980 (1974–1980 in Canada). From 1974 to 1978, the Ford Mustang II shared a common platform with the Pinto/Bobcat, though with a different unibody and powertrain assortment. For the 1981 model year, the Pinto was replaced by the Ford Escort, as Ford transitioned its product line towards front-wheel drive. Over 3 million Pintos were produced over its 10-year production run, with the Ford Pinto and Mercury Bobcat produced at Edison Assembly (Edison, New Jersey), St.Thomas Assembly (Southwold, Ontario), and San Jose Assembly (Milpitas, California).
Since the 1970s, the safety reputation of the Pinto has been surrounded by controversy. Its fuel-tank design attracted both media and government scrutiny after several deadly fires related to the tanks rupturing during rear-end collisions. A subsequent analysis of the overall safety of the Pinto suggested it was comparable to other 1970s subcompact cars. The safety issues surrounding the Pinto and the subsequent response by Ford have been cited widely as a business ethics as well as tort reform case study.