Nissan-Infiniti outage leaves U.S. dealers in the dark

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A power outage on Sunday at a Nissan North America data center in Denver has shut down a key communications system that Nissan and Infiniti dealers rely on to order cars and parts, obtain product rebate information, check on recalls, and file warranty claims.

A Nissan North America spokesman on Tuesday could not say when the system, referred to as NNANet, will be restored.

The outage has hobbled Nissan and Infiniti dealer operations, leaving them unable to report sales, process warranty claims or locate available vehicles at other dealerships. It was not clear late Tuesday how many of the automaker’s approximately 1,280 Nissan and Infiniti dealers are affected.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Dave Wright, dealer principal at Dave Wright Nissan-Subaru in Hiawatha, Iowa.

Dealers also can’t check up on customer payoff information from Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., the automaker’s finance arm, Wright said.

“I have had three customers today become irate,” he said. “We look like idiots because we can’t tell them what incentives they are eligible for, even how much they have left on their Nissan lease or finance note.”

The NNANet system has gone down for a few hours in the past, but it’s never been down for more than a day, said Tim Hill, owner of Hill Nissan in Winter Haven, Fla.

“Everything we do with Nissan goes through NNANet,” Hill said. “That is our lifeblood.”

Mario Murgado, owner of Infiniti Stuart in South Florida and chairman of the Infiniti National Dealer Advisory Board, said the company is working around the clock to fix the problem.

So far, the system crash has been a frustration for many dealers, but it could become a bigger problem if it is not back online by the end of the week, Hill said.

“That’s when dealers receive their weekly incentive payments,” he said.

The outage comes at a particularly bad time: Dealers typically book most sales in the back end of the month.

The service interruption could also pose a safety risk for customers because it is preventing dealers from looking up potential safety recalls and advising consumers about whether it is safe to drive vehicles, Wright said.

In an email to dealers on Monday, Nissan acknowledged “all systems have been affected” by the weekend’s power outage and said the company is “working diligently to fix the issue.”

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