published Thursday, March 1st, 2012

VIDEO: CarMax CEO touts 'next-generation' Chattanooga store

CEO Tom Folliard, right, and general manager Richard Buscher, second from right, speaks to Courtney Elliott, left, and Phyllis Elliott Wednesday at CarMax.
CEO Tom Folliard, right, and general manager Richard Buscher, second from right, speaks to Courtney Elliott, left, and Phyllis Elliott Wednesday at CarMax.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
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  • CarMax opens in Chattanooga
    CarMax opened it's 108th store nationwide in Chattanooga on Wednesday as CEO Tom Folliard celebrated the new and used car store's fifth dealer in Tennessee.

Chattanooga is the size market in which CarMax has done well, with its average superstore selling more than 300 used vehicles a month, the company's chief said Wednesday.

"The average new car dealer that sells used cars sells about 30 cars a month," said CarMax CEO Tom Folliard. "We usually outsell the competition by 10 to one."

Folliard officially opened CarMax's new Chattanooga dealership, the Richmond, Va.-based company's 108th store nationwide and its fifth in Tennessee.

"We've had our eye on Chattanooga a long time," he said.

Folliard said CarMax, the nation's No. 1 used car seller, offers a lot of transparency to buyers.

He said the local CarMax will have 110 employees and 270 vehicles on its lot at Shallowford Road and Interstate 75. But Carmax also offers about 30,000 vehicles for sale on the Internet.

"We have a huge selection," he said.

Folliard said CarMax offers no-haggle pricing.

"The price is listed right there on the car. You can find it on our website. It's the same at the store," he said.

Folliard said financing also is non-negotiable.

"There's no commission in the store for financing, which is also very different from a traditional dealer," he said.

Folliard said the Chattanooga location is its "next-generation store," noting Carmax is going for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design badge for the first time in its network.

"This is our first store where all of our sales consultants have iPads," he said.

Concerning the no-haggle sales approach, he said some buyers like to bargain and the dealership may not land them. But, Folliard said, some people who think they may want to negotiate will like the CarMax way.

"We end up converting a lot of people who think they're negotiators," the CEO said.

Adam Stephens, of Chattanooga, who was looking at a car Wednesday, said he'd bought four vehicles from other CarMax dealerships.

"In the past they've done me well," he said.

Mike St. Charles, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce chairman, said the city is glad to welcome another Fortune 500 company to town.

"We look forward to a long and productive relationship," he said.

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about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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