Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

CarMax to Enter OKC Market

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

CarMax to Enter OKC Market

Article excerpt

The company that prides itself on making used-car buying a haggle- free zone is coming to Oklahoma City. CarMax, the publicly traded automotive retailing giant, will open its first Oklahoma store at 1121 E. Memorial Road on a 10.5-acre site that was once home to a Sam's Club.

CarMax purchased the land and improvements for $2.58 million, but company spokeswoman Lisa Van Riper said the existing buildings would be demolished. The Virginia-based company will build a 40,000- square-foot showroom in their stead.

The dealership will employ 125-150 people in sales, service, accounting and inventory, opening with an initial inventory of 300- 500 vehicles. Eighty-five percent of those will be less than six years old and have fewer than 60,000 miles on their odometers. The balance of the stock will slightly older models with higher mileage that the company calls ValuMax cars.

CarMax was founded as a division of Circuit City in 1993, pioneering the used-car superstore concept. Circuit City divested its interest in CarMax in 2002. AutoNation, still the country's largest automotive dealer group, took the concept for a test drive in 1995 but closed its used-car superstores five years later after losing $1 billion. AutoNation now owns 287 dealership locations representing 373 new vehicle franchises across 18 states.

In contrast, CarMax has dabbled in new-car franchises - the company still owns 11 of them - but its success has come as a used- car dealer.

We're trying to pare that back even more, Van Riper said of the company's new-car franchises.

She said the company's growth strategy is now focused on adding stores in large markets where CarMax already has a presence and by infiltrating medium-size markets of 1.5 million to 2 million people.

CarMax is looking forward to parking its used-car superstore concept in Oklahoma City, Van Riper said. …

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