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Global recalls and their impact on leading positions

Introduction: The purpose of this article is to analyse well-known product crises suffered by four brands worldwide. They have led to recalls, free product repairs and even to a complete withdrawal of a product from the market. In some cases, only a specific market was affected, while in others the impact was a worldwide one.

Objectives: The objectives of this article are the following: to find the keys to understand how to overcome a product crisis, to determine how consumer confidence is restored, to identify how to establish the bases for regaining one’s market position. Therefore, the hypothesis we try to answer in this paper is that overcoming a product crisis is possible when the company implements the necessary repair, control and change mechanisms in the organization, to solve, compensate and improve the business trajectory. This mastery of the situation is based on a business ethic of transparency, honesty and good governance.

Methodology: In this study we analyse the latter through the crises of Mattel in 2007, Toyota in 2009, Volkswagen in 2015 and Samsung in 2016. In all these cases, the companies managed to overcome their crises and stay at or close to the top of the market. When collecting data on each case, we looked for the common factors and the keys to overcoming the crises, in order to maintain the leading market positions they held. For this, the ‘case  study’ methodology was used to analyse the key dates, reasons for the crisis, losses suffered, successful response to the crisis and sales data of the sample.

Discussion: The environment may react in a hostile way, trying to penalize the company and take advantage of the crisis, but it is in the company’s own hand to overcome it and recover its previous position.

Results: A clear finding is the need for the company to take proactive control of the crisis and also develop the future strategy such company will have to implement. Although overcoming a product crisis is possible, it is important to always keep in mind that it is consumers who are in charge and who need to be listened to, be understood and be provided with what they need or want.

Conclusions: We live in an era where the standards of good governance and long-term business vision predominate and are the basis of business success. From what we have seen here, they are also therefore integral to overcome a product crisis. Our comparative of the different cases draws together and summarises the keys that help to overcome major product crises.

Palabras clave

crisis communication product crisis management Recalls

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Los autores de la ponencia

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Celia Rangel

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Gema López Martínez

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Preguntas y comentarios al autor/es

Hay 4 comentarios en esta ponencia

    • profile avatar

      Carlos Cesar Santos

      Comentó el 11/12/2020 a las 10:45:57

      Dear Celia and Gema, thank you very much for sharing the knowledge generated by your research, I hope to have the opportunity to exchange knowledge more often. My congratulations for the work, greetings from Brazil.


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      Carmen Maiz Bar

      Comentó el 07/12/2020 a las 17:45:45

      Very interesting topic!
      I was wondering: would you provide different crisis communication tips for companies based in Spain, due to cultural differences?
      Thank you very much!


      • profile avatar

        Gema López Martínez

        Comentó el 10/12/2020 a las 07:20:40

        Dear Carmen,
        Thank you very much for your interest and your specific question about our environment.

        The conclusions of our article are based on global cases and global companies, meaning that they are applicable to any company on this topic of product crises. There is no difference in the fundamental approach depending on the country.

        Having said that and trying to be more specific about your question in relation to our country, we could also say that special consideration must be given to the 1st conclusion (Recognise one's responsibility and seek the problem and its solution) and the 7th (Know how to manage the different stakeholders) due to the history of corruption and lack of transparency that is still relevant and continuously in the news in our country today. Spain should give an example now of taking care of one's responsibilities and implementing true corporate social responsibility to be competitive and a member of the first division in business management. We all know there is much to do in that sense, but being sure about the right direction is the first step.

        I hope we have answered your question and please let us know if you would like to know something else.


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