‘Months to correct, if not years’: Car dealerships and customers feel the impact as CDK outage drags on | CNN Business (2024)

‘Months to correct, if not years’: Car dealerships and customers feel the impact as CDK outage drags on | CNN Business (1)

Cars sit on a Chevrolet dealership's lot on June 20, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. A cyber attack on CDK Global, a software provider that helps dealerships manage sales and service, has crippled the workflow at approximately 15,000 dealerships across the United States and Canada.

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A CDK Global system outage has affected nearly every aspect of the Mazda dealership in Seekonk, Massachusetts, where Ryan Callahan is general sales manager. He says it won’t be a simple fix.

“The financial impact it will directly have on us will take months to correct, if not years,” Callahan said.

Car buyers and dealers are grappling with the shutdown of the retail software provider, which has left nearly 15,000 car dealerships across North America struggling to provide services to customers and scrambling to find temporary analog solutions to operate.

CDK says it’s working on restoring its systems and expects them to be back online in several days, but in the interim, customers and dealership employees remain beset by long wait times, delays – and missed chances to make or save money.

Tom McParland, the owner of Automatic Consulting, a national car buying service, said the outage was impacting customers because they have fewer dealers to choose from.

“It reduces their ability to get a deal,” he said. “It limits the customer’s leverage.”

Some dealers also can’t apply factory rebates without CDK’s software, so customers may miss out on money-saving deals. For customers looking to buy a car, McParland suggested casting a wide net and shopping outside their local market to find the best price.

‘They aren’t really able to drive their cars’

Midway Automotive uses a CDK product to register cars with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Owner Michael Deveney says that after the shutdown on Wednesday, the dealership started sending customers to their local RMV office in order to register their cars in person after purchase.

“That was up until Thursday. Then customers started being told that (the RMV) wasn’t taking any walk-ins,” he said. “They were probably getting flooded with customers and started turning people away.”

Deveney said one customer got increasingly agitated because he couldn’t register his car. “Getting an appointment might take three or four days, and in that time they aren’t really able to drive their cars,” he added.

Some 30 miles north in Lynn, Katelyn Salvato says she hasn’t been able to register a vehicle since last Tuesday. Salvato works as a title clerk for Pride Motor Group, registering cars for three dealerships.

“Today… I sent 21 registrations to be done manually at the Massachusetts RMV,” she said, adding that the RMV won’t accept transactions from dealership employees. “The transactions must be dropped off within the designated hours (of 10 am to 3 pm), and the runner can’t wait for them.”

Callahan echoed those concerns. Under normal circ*mstances, the CDK software allows the dealership to register a vehicle almost instantaneously, but now the process faces heavy delays.

“Our remote registration system is rendered useless without CDK to talk to it. We’ve had to send a runner with the registrations to the DMV to be competed in packs, costing several days where prior it took hours,” Callahan said in an interview with CNN.

If a vehicle isn’t registered within seven days of purchase, the state penalizes both the dealership and customers.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which oversees the state’s RMV, has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.

Service and sales go analog

Salespeople and service employees who spoke with CNN say they’ve resorted to using pen and paper to process purchases, which has drawn out the amount of time it takes to buy a car, according to Scott Campbell, a salesman at Capital City Buick GMC in Berlin, Vermont. He estimates wait times have doubled or tripled.

Nicolas, who declined to provide his full name because he was unsure about his employer’s stance on speaking to the media, is a clerk in the parts department of a Porsche dealership in Los Angeles. He said he has been using “a mix of pen and paper, Excel sheets, and extra care for each invoice” since the shutdown.

Since many dealerships use CDK products to manage inventory, Nicolas said his department is now forced to manually record inventory parts, which slows their work down significantly. “We don’t have clear view of stock and have to do regular inventory on our most used parts,” he added.

But sometimes the analog workarounds are not enough.

Delays at dealerships

Several buyers and repair customers tell CNN they’ve experienced long delays.

Don Ayco*ck told CNN he drove 90 miles round-trip from his home to a car dealership in Clay County, Florida, to buy a new Buick on Thursday, a day after the CDK shutdown. He told CNN he was able to buy the car but was unable to sign the title.

“We got a call from them today that we can come next Thursday to sign the paperwork for the title and get a permanent license plate,” he said, noting that it will be another lengthy round-trip drive.

In San Diego — where temperatures in recent days have been pushing 90 degrees — Robbie Jacob and his wife tried to make an appointment at a Kia service center to fix their car’s broken air conditioning unit. Jacob said the center told them it was unable to service the car, citing the CDK cyber incident, as there were no appointments available and all walk-ins were suspended until next week.

Other software providers take note

CDK Global isn’t the only management system used by dealerships, and the back-to-back cyber incidents affecting the company have put their competitors on high alert, as well.

Cox Automotive, which operates the Dealertrack and VinSolutions software systems to manage documents and customer service, told CNN that it temporarily stopped integrating its systems with CDK after the outage “as a precautionary measure to prioritize safety and security for our clients.”

“While actively supporting our customers to continue to run their business, we established a secure microsite that our customers are actively using now to access support and guidance, work-arounds and actions they can take while CDK systems are not available,” the company said.

Tekion, another software company used by dealerships, said it has “seen an increase in inquiries from dealers in light of the recent CDK incident.”

And other industry experts told CNN that switching from one system to another is not an action that dealerships can just take on a whim. Businesses are often locked into a multi-year contract with a software provider. Switching software also means training employees, making it a lengthy process.

Meanwhile, Asbury Automotive Group, one of America’s largest care retailers and service providers, warned investors Monday that the CDK outage has hurt its business, and it’s unclear when it will end. Rival Group1 Automotive said CDK believed the outage would be resolved in days, not weeks, but it was unclear how much financial damage the company faced as a result.

CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this reporting.

‘Months to correct, if not years’: Car dealerships and customers feel the impact as CDK outage drags on | CNN Business (2024)


What is CDK for car dealerships? ›

CDK operates different software products car dealers use to handle workflow such as keeping records of negotiated deals, to scheduling and communicating about service. Not every dealer uses CDK's products, and those that do may not use CDK for every dealership task, but the system shutdown has been a problem for many.

What is a CDK outage? ›

The outage began last Wednesday after two cyber incidents halted the company's systems, which provide software to nearly 15,000 car dealerships across North America, according to CDK. In a statement on Friday, the company said it was making progress in bringing some dealerships back online.

What is CDK and why is it down? ›

CDK Global, the company that powers sales for thousands of car dealerships across the U.S., says it has restored systems for a small group of dealers after it was hacked last week in what it later described as a "ransom event." But many dealers still remain offline as the end of the month approaches, with no promises ...

How many dealerships use CDK? ›

CDK says its software, which specializes in a dealer management system that manages the entire car dealership for those who use CDK software, is used by approximately 15,000 dealers.

How much does CDK cost a dealership? ›

Study: CDK cyberattacks could cost dealers $1 billion. Automotive News.

Who is attacking CDK? ›

The CDK Global cyberattack has been attributed to the BlackSuit ransomware gang. BlackSuit is a relatively new ransomware group that first emerged in April 2023. The group has links to the older more established Royal ransomware gang. There is some evidence that BlackSuit is also related to the Conti ransomware group.

How do I turn off auto rollback in CDK? ›

However, while you're still developing your infrastructure, some failures are inevitable, and rolling back failed deployments can slow you down. For this reason, the CDK Toolkit lets you disable rollback by adding --no-rollback to your cdk deploy command. With this flag, failed deployments are not rolled back.

Did CDK buy ADP? ›

On October 1, 2014, ADP Dealer Services division was spun-off to form the independent company CDK Global.

What does an outage management system do? ›

At its core, an Outage Management System serves as a robust tool to help utility companies manage power outages effectively. Its primary function involves collating information from a wide range of sources—everything from weather updates and customer complaints to inputs from field staff and smart grid technology.

What triggers CDK? ›

As their name suggests, CDKs require the presence of cyclins to become active. Cyclins are a family of proteins that have no enzymatic activity of their own but activate CDKs by binding to them.

What is CDK in simple terms? ›

The AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) is an open-source software development framework developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) for defining and provisioning cloud infrastructure resources using familiar programming languages.

Why is CDK important? ›

There are 20 members of CDK family known to this day regulating the cell cycle, transcription and splicing. The kinases are organized in a pathway to ensure that, during cell division, each cell accurately replicates its DNA, and ensures its segregation equally between the two daughter cells [2].

Who is the largest auto dealer? ›

If you've ever wanted to know which car dealer is the world's largest, here's your answer: It's a dealership called Longo Toyota, it's located in El Monte, California (in the Los Angeles area), and it's truly, unbelievably, absurdly massive.

Who bought out CDK? ›

Last April it was announced that CDK Global, Inc., was being acquired by Brookfield Business Partners for $8.3 billion. Under merger agreement terms, CDK shareholders were said to receive $54.87 per share in cash upon completion of the transaction.

Who is the largest auto distributor? ›

Bosch continues to be the world's largest automotive supplier, and Denso remains the world's second largest. Next in line are ZF, Hyundai Mobis, and Magna. On the other hand, CATL moved up to sixth place in FY2022 due to increased battery demand.

What does CKD stand for in cars? ›

Definition: Completely Knocked Down (CKD)

Complete Knock-Down means that a product is delivered in parts and assembled at the destination. The term originates in the automobile industry, where various components are delivered from suppliers worldwide and assembled in the import country.

Who are the CDK hackers? ›

Multiple outlets reported Recorded Future ransomware analyst Allan Liska identified BlackSuit as the hacking group behind the cyberattack on CDK.

What is dealer activation? ›

Dealership activations are more than just ground activation services at AD Vantage; they are opportunities for engagement and brand building. Our dealer activations focus on creating a holistic experience that equips dealers with the knowledge and enthusiasm to represent your brand effectively.


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