CarMax president and chief executive officer Tom Folliard likes how the company is positioned to take advantage of the swelling projection of off-lease vehicles expected to fill the auction lanes next year and beyond.

During the company’s most recent conference call, Folliard was asked to compare how CarMax will leverage this chance as compared to a decade ago when the off-lease vehicle market jumped by these expected levels. To recap, Used Car Week featured speaker Joe Derkos, director of the Power Information Network, a division of J.D. Power and Associates, placed his expectations of around an 800,000-unit increase in lease maturity wholesale volume in 2016.

“In terms of our capabilities, we are much more organized today than we were 10 years ago,” Folliard said. “We’re much more analytical about the way we approach car buying at the auction, and I think we’re in a better position today to optimize the inventory that we acquire at the auction because of all the analytics that we’ve put into it and all the digital capabilities that we’ve given our buyers.

“Our buyers are now all using tablets at the auctions,” he continued. “We’re tracking every single car that a buyer at CarMax looks at while at the auction and deciding whether or not that car is worthy. Then the next time a buyer goes to the auction, they don’t have to look at that same car and we’re saving an enormous amount of time in evaluating cars at the auction.

“We have all the auctions on a program where the CarMax buyers are buying under one kind of generic card, and we can analytically decide where those cars go later,” Folliard continued.

That strategy for acquiring inventory evidently is appealing to CarMax buyers. Company dealerships turned 156,516 units during Q2 and 321,026 units at the halfway point of its current fiscal year. Both figures represented a 9.2-percent gain year-over-year.

And it appears CarMax will continue to have buyers in the lanes securing inventory for the company’s network of dealerships, which is expected to expand by 14 during its current fiscal year and by 13 to 16 stores in each of the following two fiscal years.

“If you back up 10 or 15 years, we used to buy on a store-by-store basis, so I’m really pleased with the progress we’ve made in our ability to analyze and purchase inventory,” Folliard said.

“I really do think that leasing provides a more organized way because you’ll see a lot of the big leasing companies will run hundreds and hundreds of cars a week on a very regular basis at the auction,” he continued. “It’s pretty predictable and we have the ability to look at that inventory in advance and decide which ones we are or are not going to bid on.”

Following AutoNation’s strategy

Earlier this month, AutoNation made a major procedure change, announcing a policy not to sell, lease or wholesale any new or used vehicle that has an open safety recall.

The dealer group indicated this policy will apply to each one of AutoNation's 293 vehicle franchises across the United States and stands as a “confirmation of the company's commitment to delivering a peerless customer experience.”

In light of CarMax having the same kind of footprint, Wall Street observers asked Folliard if a similar pivot was in the works regarding recalled units. Folliard explained how CarMax is in the different position than AutoNation, which has a wide array of franchised stores to handle recall repairs. Meanwhile, CarMax only has two franchised dealerships in its entire portfolio, a pair of Toyota rooftops.

So as large as CarMax is, Folliard reiterated that it has to get recall work completed just like the smallest independent dealer — send that vehicle to the appropriate franchised store.

“Well, it is a concern. We’ve talked about it at length,” Folliard said about recalled vehicles. “It’s something that we’re always trying to do what’s the most transparent thing that we can do for our customers.”

“We think the most important thing is to make sure that customers are fully informed of whether or not there’s an open recall on the car and also how important it is to register on a manufacturer’s website. We may sell them a car and a week later a recall may come out, and if they haven’t registered with the manufacturer, then they won’t ever know about that,” he continued.

“Every customer that buys a car at CarMax is made aware in several different points of the transaction about recalls,” Folliard went on to say. “We have a direct link on our website to the NHTSA database. It automatically populates the VIN for the customer so they can see exactly what’s going on with that individual car, and then at the point of sale our sales consultants are walking through with the customer exactly what I just said — whether or not the call has a open recall, and the importance of registering with the manufacturer on their website so they can be notified of recalls going forward.”

CarMax hiring for more than 2,000 positions

In other company news following its Q2 financial performance update, CarMax indicated that it is recruiting for more than 2,000 positions in locations across the country. Officials mentioned the majority of open positions are in service operations (detailers, experienced technicians) and sales, with additional positions in purchasing and the business office. Positions range from full and part-time, with day and evening shifts available.

“Behind every CarMax stress-free customer experience is a dedicated, hard-working team of associates,” Folliard said. “We place a strong focus on providing developmental opportunities for everyone in the company, and on taking care of our associates by offering a healthy work-life balance and excellent benefits.”

Some of the areas with a large number of service job openings include:

— Austin, Fort Worth and Houston, Texas
— Laurel, Md.
— Memphis, Tenn.
— Greensboro, N.C.
— Lancaster, Pa.
— Parker, Colo.
— Louisville, Ky.
— Newark, N.J.

In addition, CarMax is currently hiring for its first Boston-area stores in Danvers, Mass., and Norwood, Mass., which will open in December.

CarMax offers a comprehensive benefits package including health coverage, paid time off, insurance and disability, and retirement options for full-time associates. The company also offers competitive pay and promotes a diverse work environment. Stores are equipped with climate controlled, state-of-the-art service bays with quality equipment. Employees receive discounts on vehicle purchases and other services.

“Our associates experience a workplace full of opportunities for skill development, award-winning training, advancement, and recognition for performance,” said Tracey Shoemaker, director of talent acquisition for CarMax.

“Team-oriented, dependable candidates who are ready to join the CarMax family should apply now,” Shoemaker continued.