Some Sacramento-area car dealerships face ‘painful’ setbacks after nationwide cyberattack

Multiple cyberattacks affecting a software company that powers operations for car dealerships across the U.S. are disrupting operations in California’s capital region, according to several auto groups.

CDK Global, a software company that provides dealerships with assistance in sales transactions, has been hit with multiple cyberattacks since Wednesday, as reported this week by the Associated Press and other national news outlets. While its software isn’t only offered for auto dealers, 96% of its clientele consists of automotive companies, according to CDK Global.

This has set back more than 15,000 auto dealers nationwide, forcing them to either use a different software or write down sales manually.

The Niello Co. owns several dealerships in the Sacramento area, all of which are operated through CDK Global, said Derrick Niello, chief financial officer. These dealerships are still operating, but the setback has forced staff to find a different process in managing sales.

“We are managing, we are very much open for business and we are managing the issues,” Niello said. “It is painful, but we are managing.”

For all orders received, the Niello dealerships will physically write down all transactions using pen and paper. Despite the challenges, Niello said the company plans to still use CDK Global in the future.

“For years we’ve all heard about these things happening, where there’s variable quality cyber issues in large organizations, and this is one that just happens to affect us,” Niello said. “But no, we still have confidence in CDK Global.”

Maita Auto Group, which has four dealerships in the Sacramento area, said that its systems at every location have been down since the cyberattacks, causing staff to manually write down all transactions.

Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the area use CDK Global’s software to help manage operations and have been experiencing several problems.

“I don’t know much, all I know is that stuff is down,” said an employee who answered the phone at Mercedes-Benz El Dorado Hills.

Some local dealerships such as Elk Grove Hyundai, Sacramento Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and M&S Auto are unaffected because they operate through different software programs. AutoNation Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Roseville said that while it has CDK Global software, its dealership wasn’t affected because it typically uses a different program for transactions.

CDK Global has not released an update regarding when services will be functioning again.

“At this point there are more questions than answers,” Niello said. “We do not know how long this is going to persist for.”