Car Dealerships Hobbled by CDK Cyberattack Should Be Back Online by July 4

Unfortunately for dealer employees, the holiday weekend is probably going to involve a lot of data entry.
Car salesman's inner misery.
Getty Images, The Drive

More than 15,000 U.S. car dealerships have been cut off from critical digital info, doing barebones business with pen and paper, since a cyberattack hit dealership management system provider CDK on June 19. Five of America’s six biggest dealership networks run almost all their business through CDK software, making this a major disruption for the car biz. As of today, it seems CDK is confident that everybody will be back online by “late Wednesday, July 3, or early morning Thursday, July 4.”

Dealer networks Asbury Automotive Group, AutoNation, Group 1 Automotive, Lithia Motors, and Sonic Automotive all run CDK technology. Between those, we’re talking about basically every car brand. Exactly how much business was lost by this outage is hard to quantify. The dealers have still been selling cars, parts, and service, but it’s been a headache for everybody who works with these systems.

“We are continuing our phased approach to the restoration process and are rapidly bringing dealers live on the Dealer Management System,” CDK said in a statement issued to Automotive News early July 1. “We anticipate all dealers’ connections will be live by late Wednesday, July 3, or early morning Thursday, July 4.”

I stopped by Lia Honda in Kingston, New York a couple of weeks ago to pick up some MTF crush washers, and the poor guy running the parts desk had to make me a handwritten receipt. I suspect the real pain will begin after the holiday, when service writers, techs, and other folks working at these places will probably have to re-enter everything they’ve been doing on paper since June 19.

The Drive

Based on some of the comments on our first story about this incident, it sounds like people using CDK services were not, uh, particularly big fans of it. Obviously the company’s going to have to commit to some major cybersecurity overhauling to keep dealership business—maybe the service will get better with its next version?

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