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Car Shoppers Focus On Quality, According To CarMax Survey

Quality remains top of mind for car buyers for the third year running, with almost double the amount of respondents choosing it over price as influencing a car-buying decision, according to a recent telephone survey conducted for CarMax, Inc. (NYSE: KMX), the nation’s largest retailer of used cars. Quality was also more important to car buyers than safety and environmental factors.

Forty-one percent of Americans who have purchased a vehicle say that quality had the greatest impact on their car buying decision, followed by price and safety, in that order. Men and women chose quality as their top factor individually too – 46 percent of men and 36 percent of women chose quality. Resale and environmental factors were least important, at five and four percent respectively.

“Consumers want to drive off the lot knowing they are in a high quality vehicle, and they also want to feel good about the price and safety of the vehicle,” said Troy Flaherty, Mid-Atlantic region vice president of purchasing. “Our rigorous selection, inspection and renewal processes allow customers to have peace of mind when buying a used car."

The following are the results of the recent poll that asked adults: “Which of the following factors most influences your car-buying decision?”


2012 Percentages

2011 Percentages

2010 Percentages
Quality   41   45   37
Price   23   22   28
Safety   17   15   22
Resale value   5   7   4
Environmental or green factors   4   6   6

The survey was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of CarMax. The national, random sample consisted of more than 1,000 U.S. adults who were interviewed by telephone during October 4 – 8, 2012, October 6 – 11, 2011 and August 19 – 22, 2010. Of those surveyed this year, five percent had no response.

Consumers can search thousands of CarMax Quality Certified used cars on or visit their local CarMax store to browse a large selection of vehicles. Each vehicle undergoes an average of 12 hours of thorough inspection and renewal, and comes with a free online Vehicle History Report. Consumers can search vehicles from 30 top brands by fuel economy and features, read customer reviews, review reliability ratings by J.D. Power and Associates and obtain safety ratings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all on All vehicles come with a 30-day limited warranty (60-day in Conn. and 90-day in Mass.) and a five-day, money-back guarantee.

About CarMax

CarMax, a member of the FORTUNE 500 and the S&P 500, and one of the FORTUNE 2012 “100 Best Companies to Work For,” is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars. Headquartered in Richmond, Va., CarMax currently operates 116 used car superstores in 58 markets. The CarMax consumer offer is structured around four customer benefits: low, no-haggle prices; a broad selection; high quality vehicles; and customer-friendly service. During the twelve months ended February 29, 2012, the company retailed 408,080 used cars and sold 316,649 wholesale vehicles at our in-store auctions. For more information, access the CarMax website at

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