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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Dealership Chain

External Links
Official Site: CarMax.com
Wikipedia: CarMax
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Article Index
Founded: September 1993

A chain of large used car dealerships.


The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's CarMax page on 10 April 2017, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

CarMax is the United States' largest used-car retailer and a Fortune 500 company. The first CarMax location opened in September 1993. As of March 2017, the company had 173 locations. Prior to the first store being built, DeVito/Verdi was hired as the advertising agency and creative resource. The company executed the campaign and additional TV advertisements over the course of a number of years in support of the launch and the initial wave of stores.

The concept for CarMax was developed by Circuit City executives under then-CEO Richard L. Sharp. It was developed for nearly a year in 1991, using the code name "Project X", and was also known as "Honest Rick's Used Cars" to those intimately involved in the skunk works team. The concept was actually first proposed by a consultant hired by Circuit City to evaluate possible business opportunities beyond the scope of their consumer electronics locations. While used cars has always been the main business, CarMax purchased the rights to locations from car manufacturers such as Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Toyota. CarMax also purchased an auto row in Kenosha, Wisconsin that had additional manufacturer franchises, such as Ford, BMW, and Volvo. The first CarMax location opened in September 1993, 1.7 miles (2.7 km) from Circuit City's corporate offices in Richmond, Virginia. As of November 30, 2016, CarMax operated 169 locations across 39 states.

The business model began with no fees, however the model was subsequently abandoned for the current business model after it was determined that customers were not concerned about paying transaction fees for the purchase of a vehicle.

A typical CarMax store is approximately 59,000 square feet (5,500 m2), carries an inventory of 300–400 vehicles, and turns its inventory over eight to ten times a year. On average, a CarMax location employs 40 sales associates. Each car goes through a thorough 125-point inspection process, beyond any state-required inspections, and includes a 30-day warranty and a five-day money back guarantee.

Circuit City issued the first CarMax stock in February 1997, when CarMax had seven locations. Initially, the stock was a tracking stock still under the umbrella of the Circuit City. CarMax officially split from Circuit City as of October 1, 2002, when it was spun off as a stock dividend for Circuit City shareholders, with shares also issued to those holding CarMax tracking stock.

During the 12-month period ending February 28, 2015, the company sold 582,282 used cars. According to the CarMax fiscal year 2009 report released on April 2, 2009, the company opened 11 used car superstores, including superstores in 5 new markets.

CarMax was on Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list from 2005 to 2016, placing 85th in 2016.


2 August 2016
14-56305 Travis Gonzales v. Carmax Auto Superstores
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
CarMax Auto Superstores, LLC and others appeal the district court's order denying CarMax's motion for attorneys' fees after CarMax won summary judgment in a diversity action brought by Travis Gonzales alleging state law consumer protection claims.
Download 14-56305 Travis Gonzales v. Carmax Auto Superstores - 426MB - 43:04
10 January 2017
15-55279 Regina Clark v. Carmax Auto Superstores Calif.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Regina Clark and Lawrence Sanker appeal the district court's Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) dismissal of plaintiffs' diversity action alleging that CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC was liable for fraud and deceit and violations of California law.
Download 15-55279 Regina Clark v. Carmax Auto Superstores Calif. - 261MB - 29:54

Article Index

5 May 2009CarMaxx -- 10 Reasons To Buy Today And ONE To Make You Run Away!Justin Reynold
22 December 2016CarMax, Inc., Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public CommentFederal Register: FTC (Donald S. Clark)
18 May 2017CarMax Carjacker Sentenced to 108 Months in PrisonU.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida

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