Large automotive recalls tend to stay in the media spotlight for longer than those in other industries. The reason for this is that they often affect a known number of customers and there are usually higher safety implications than with other recall situations.

Expanded recalls happen when companies add further recalls onto a recall announcement that they have already made. For example, in the automotive business, companies may expand to another model, or the same model but another registration year.

The news of an expanded recall may leave some people scratching their heads and wondering if this could have been minimised or even avoided? The truth is, when a company first learns of a potential recall it’s critical that they make every effort to recall all potentially affected products – to avoid injury, or worse, fatality. This helps prevent the need for an expanded recall announcement, which prolongs the process and exposes the brand to further reputational damage.

Steps automotive manufacturers can take to prepare for an expanded recall

• Impose safety standards that meet international automotive regulations for all cars produced
• Ensure that a full recall plan (or external provider) is in place to execute an effective response, which includes both proactive customer communications and a means for response handling
• Keep accurate and accessible records to allow for identification during a recall. The DVLA records in the UK mean that contacting those affected is much simpler than with other recalled products

Maintaining Balance

Speed and attention to detail are sometimes conflicting ideals but in the event of an automotive recall they must be carefully balanced. This helps take manufacturers out of the spotlight quickly, but not so hastily as to cause issues, such an expansion, which can put the spotlight right back on them.

The ability to understand the depth and scope of a recall at its onset can help organisations avoid undue attention and may prevent them from being hit with additional costs such as hefty fines associated with an expanded recall. This will help the manufacturer bounce back as quickly as possible with minimal impact to their reputation and bottom line, while reinforcing the fact that the safety of their consumers is a top priority. Customer loyalty can actually be enhanced as they recognise that companies extending recalls are doing so for safety reasons.