IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Discovery†to†Recall in the Automotive Industry: A Problem†Solving Perspective on Investigation of Quality Failures


  • John Ni
  • Xiaowen Huang


Several recent high†profile product recalls raise the question of why companies take so long to recall defective products from the market. The recall timing decision is not a simple task, as companies constantly face multiple, often competing goals during the recall process. In this research, we examine variations in large automakers’ recall timing decisions after an initial report of a suspected quality failures. Drawing upon problem†solving theory, we theorize about how five recall attributes impact discovery†to†recall, defined as the time between a defective product's initial discovery and its officially announced recall. To test our hypotheses, we assembled a vehicle recall investigation dataset from recall reports filed by the six largest automakers that sold passenger cars in the United States from 2000 to 2012. Results from event history analysis reveal that discovery†to†recall is longer for: (1) recalls that are triggered by external initial reports, rather than internal initial reports; (2) recalls that are attributed to suppliers, rather than automakers; (3) recalls that are associated with design flaws, as opposed to manufacturing flaws; and (4) recalls with more models involved. We also find that cumulative recall experience, measured as the total number of previous recalls, shortens discovery†to†recall. These findings improve our understanding of why the timing of vehicle recalls varies considerably at the individual recall level. They also highlight the value of problem†solving theory in vehicle recall research, as well as quality management research.

Suggested Citation

  • John Ni & Xiaowen Huang, 2018. "Discovery†to†Recall in the Automotive Industry: A Problem†Solving Perspective on Investigation of Quality Failures," Journal of Supply Chain Management, Institute for Supply Management, vol. 54(2), pages 71-95, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jscmgt:v:54:y:2018:i:2:p:71-95

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jscmgt:v:54:y:2018:i:2:p:71-95. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.