CDK Global Outage: Car dealerships and customers feel the impact as the shutdown drags on


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CNN

The CDK Global system outage affected all aspects of the Mazda dealership in Seekonk, Massachusetts, where Ryan Callahan is general sales manager. It won’t be a simple solution, he says.

“It will take months, if not years, to adjust to the financial impact that this will have on us directly,” Callahan said.

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

CDK is working to restore its systems and expects to have them back online in a few days, but in the meantime, customers and dealership employees have experienced long wait times, delays and lost opportunities to make or save money.

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

“It reduces their ability to get a deal,” he said. “It limits the influence of the customer.”

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

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

Owner Michael Deveney said after Wednesday’s shutdown, the dealership began sending customers to their local RMV office to register their cars in person after purchase.

“It was until Thursday. Then customers were told that (the RMV) was not taking any walk-ins,” he said. “They were probably flooded with customers and started turning people away.”

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Deveney said one customer became increasingly agitated because he couldn’t register his car. “It can take three or four days to get an appointment, and during that time they can’t drive cars,” he added.

Katelyn Salvato, who lives about 30 miles north in Lynn, says she hasn’t been able to register her 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,” he said, adding that the RMV does not accept transactions from dealership employees. “Transactions must be dropped off within designated hours (10am to 3pm) and the runner cannot wait for them.”

Callahan echoed those concerns. Under normal circumstances, the CDK software allows the dealership to register the vehicle instantly, but now the process is facing huge delays.

“Our remote registration system has become useless without talking to CDK. We had to send a runner to the DMV with the records, and that cost days, before that it took hours,” Callahan said in an interview with CNN.

If the vehicle is not registered within seven days of purchase, the government imposes fines on both the dealer and the customer.

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

Service and sales go analog

Sales and service employees who spoke to CNN say they processed the purchase using pen and paper, which took the time it takes to buy a car, says Scott Campbell, a salesperson at Capital City Buick GMC. Berlin, Vermont. He estimates that wait times have doubled or tripled.

Nicholas declined to give his full name because he was unsure of his employer’s stance on speaking to the media. He said he has been using “pen and paper, Excel sheets and extra care for every invoice” since the shutdown.

With many dealerships using CDK products to manage inventory, Nichols says his department is now forced to record inventory parts manually, which significantly slows down their work. “We don’t have a clear view of the stock and we have to do regular inventory on the parts that are used the most,” he added.

But sometimes analog works just aren’t enough.

Many buyers and repair customers told CNN they experienced long delays.

Dan Aycock told CNN he drove 90 miles 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 that he was able to buy the car but couldn’t sign over the title.

“We got a call from them today to come next Thursday to sign the title papers and get the permanent license plate,” he said, noting that it would be another long round-trip.

In San Diego — where temperatures have been pushing 90 degrees in recent days — Robbie Jacobs and his wife were trying to make an appointment at a Kia service center to fix their car’s broken air conditioning unit. Citing the CDK cyber incident, Jacob said the center told them the car could not be serviced as no appointments were available and all walk-ins were suspended until next week.

CDK Global is not the only management system used by dealerships, and cyber incidents affecting the company have put their competitors on high alert.

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

“We have established a secure microsite that our customers actively use to access support and guidance, tasks and actions they can take when CDK systems are unavailable, while actively supporting them to continue running their business,” the company said. .

Tekion, another software company used by dealerships, said “inquiries from dealers have increased in light of the recent CDK incident.”

Other industry experts told CNN that switching from one system to another is not something dealerships can do on a whim. Businesses are often locked into a multi-year contract with a software provider. Changing software involves training employees, which is a lengthy process.

Meanwhile, Asbury Automotive Group, America’s largest maintenance retailer and service provider, warned investors Monday’s CDK outage has affected its business and it is not clear when it will end. Rival Group1 Automotive said CDK believed it would The power outage will be resolved in a few daysNot weeks, but it’s unclear how much financial damage the company faced as a result.

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