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|==Business Financials==||==Business Financials==|
|+||Falling demand for both new and used automobiles caused Carmax's Q1 09 revenues to fall approximately 17%, to $1.83 billion.<ref name=KMXQ1>[http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1170010/000117001009000031/tenq.htm KMX, Q1 2009, 10-Q, Item 1, Page 3]</ref> However, the falling cost of purchasing vehicles also lowered the company's expenses by about 19%, causing first quarter net income to fall just $810,000 to $28.7.<ref name=KMXQ1/>|
|Carmax has 4 basic business segments: selling used vehicles, selling new vehicles, selling wholesale vehicles, and other (servicing, financing, and warranties).||Carmax has 4 basic business segments: selling used vehicles, selling new vehicles, selling wholesale vehicles, and other (servicing, financing, and warranties).|
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|[[Image:KMX_Margins.gif| Carmax makes its money selling used cars, but makes a low-effort profit by servicing them.]]||[[Image:KMX_Margins.gif| Carmax makes its money selling used cars, but makes a low-effort profit by servicing them.]]|
|==Macro Trends and Drivers==||==Macro Trends and Drivers==|
CarMax, Inc. (CarMax) is the country's largest retailer of used cars by volume, during the fiscal year ending on February 28th, 2009, CarMax sold over 345,465 used vehicles through 100 superstores during FY 2009. CarMax competes in a highly fragmented, highly competitive market; there are approximately 20,000 automotive dealerships, 39,000 independent used vehicle dealers and an unknown number of individuals who sell used vehicles to the public. CarMax has used its size to take advantage of economies of scale in its operations, notably through its rigorous computer-based tracking systems and no-haggle pricing strategy.
CarMax's financial performance has been affected by the worsening economic conditions and tight credit markets brought on by the subprime lending crisis. Revenues have decreased from $8.2 billion in FY 2008 to $7.0 billion in FY 2009; additionally net income has decreased from $182 million in FY 2008 to $59 million in FY 2009.
Two seemingly unrelated drivers of sales are airline travel and hurricanes. CarMax sold over 200,000 wholesale vehicles to rental car companies such as Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) and Avis Budget Group (CAR), which thrive on increased airline travel. In addition, hurricanes tend to destroy cars, thus temporarily driving up the prices that CarMax can charge for its vehicles.
Falling demand for both new and used automobiles caused Carmax's Q1 09 revenues to fall approximately 17%, to $1.83 billion. However, the falling cost of purchasing vehicles also lowered the company's expenses by about 19%, causing first quarter net income to fall just $810,000 to $28.7.
Carmax has 4 basic business segments: selling used vehicles, selling new vehicles, selling wholesale vehicles, and other (servicing, financing, and warranties).
The company has a no-haggle policy with trade-ins, but really it recoups any trade-in losses through its servicing, warranty and financing arm.
The following graph shows how profits are divided between the business segments. You might notice that Carmax's New Car profits declined 40% between 2008 and 2009, whereas its wholesale and used car profits declined only 8-9%. This shows how Carmax's main business line is somewhat insulated from U.S. Economic Cycles
The next graph shows Carmax's operating margins, which have been relatively stable across years. It is very profitable to provide extra services to old cars, and less profitable to sell them.
Increased travel and natural disasters like hurricanes can affect pricing for the company. When Americans travel more, rental companies like Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) and Avis Budget Group (CAR) demand greater numbers of used-cars at CarMax's wholesale auctions, and bidding intensifies and prices rise. Similarly, hurricanes, such as those of the magnitude of Katrina and Rita, destroy large quantities of vehicles in the South, a key market for the company. When replacements are sought in mass, demand drives pricing to favorable levels. For instance, the company experienced 6%+ growth in pricing in 2006 due to both an unseasonable hurricane season and lack of supply to meet rental company demands.
As many auto buyers finance their purchases with loans, there exists a risk of spillover from the subprime lending crisis into the auto-loan business. As homeowners/car buyers struggle to pay both their mortgages and auto-loans, the company may assume losses due to loan delinquencies as well as hampered demand for auto loans going forward.
CarMax deals in 1-6 year old vehicles. This means that when the economy is strong, people can buy a car that is a little better/newer than during a down economy. So those who would normally buy a 1-2 year old used car can now buy a new car. But people normally in the market for a 7-10 year old car can now afford a 5-6 year old car. Conversely when the economy is very bad, car buyers move down a year or two on their purchase. CarMax has a sort of natural buffer because of the age range of cars it sells.
The US auto-industry stopped growing long ago. The same is true of the used car industry. The used car industry is extremely competitive and price sensitive. Carmax does well because it has huge Economies of scale. It can buy cars in bulk, make standardized offers on nearly any car, and deploy technically advanced automated customer service systems to keep costs down. Carmax also uses its website, carmax.com to sell cars. Carmax.com has seen its traffic decline, perhaps due to the fact that Carmax now sells on cars.com as well. Carmax thinks it has strong competitive advantage in its customer satisfaction due to fast turnaround, warranties, a no-haggle policy and a well-trained and friendly staff.
Despite its large size, Carmax controls less than 2% of the total market for used cars in the United States, estimated to be about 16 million cars per year. Its next largest competitor, AutoNation (AN) controls about 1%. There are about 39,000 used vehicle dealers and millions of private individuals directly competing with Carmax. 
Indirect competition for used cars include new cars, motorcycles, and public transit. This is especially relevant to consider, because the advent of Hybrid and Alternative Energy Technology may make new cars temporarily more attractive and do serious short-term damage to Carmax's business of selling old vehicles.