CDK Outage May Affect Q2 Numbers


The vast majority of our readers are up to speed on the CDK ransomware attack, a cybersecurity incident which brought the software used by over 15,000 North American car dealerships to its knees. With second quarter sales numbers due out this week, speculation is running rampant about the effect it will have on the total number of deliveries reflected in official reports.

The CDK confab happened over two weeks ago, and the software company has yet to haul itself out of the gutter to present its customers anything even remotely resembling a working system. Keep in mind this is a package which fuels just about every corner of a dealership, from sales to service, meaning it has been a chaotic couple of weeks for certain stores. This author has spoken to numerous dealer principals and service managers off the record about the outage and it is safe to say there is a biblical amount of handwringing and gnashing of teeth.

Work is getting done and sales are happening, albeit at much slower pace. Most information from such repairs or deals is currently sitting on handwritten paper, awaiting input into a system which has yet to resume a skiff of functionality. The backlog is expected to take some time to clear – even if CDK returns to full speed by the end of this week, it will be a spell before all the paperwork generated over the last couple of weeks can be inputted. Is ‘inputted’ a word? It is now.

Even if sales have happened at dealer level, the mother ship will have a hard time counting them all correctly for a Q2 sales report since many records are sitting on someone’s battered desk in a wood paneled office which still stinks slightly of cigarette smoke because the place hasn’t been meaningfully updated since Jesus was a cowboy.

This could mean lower-than-expected numbers for June, followed by a rebound in July when reporting catches up. Keep this in mind 30 days from now when some manufacturers inevitably brag it’s their BEST JULY EVER. Same goes 12 months hence when a dunderhead is guaranteed to trumpet a huge percentage increase in year-over-year sales comparing June 2024 to June 2025. Or maybe everything will be properly backdated and correctly accounted.

Yeah, right.

We’ll keep an ear to whatever trickle of numbers are released in the coming days for Q2 auto sales in America. Some brands have become notoriously, erm, elastic with their reporting schedules – but watch this space for any quirks.

[Image: RossHelen/]

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