Buying a car during coronavirus? CarMax adds contactless curbside pickup

Move comes after COVID-19 prompts furloughs

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Used car dealer CarMax is responding to  coronavirus social distancing guidelines by adding contactless curbside pickup for customers buying vehicles from most of its locations.

CarMax, which says it’s the largest used car retailer in the United States, said on Tuesday that it’s enhancing its online shopping system so that customers never have to go inside a store or make in-person contact with an employee. Most of the purchasing process can be done online in advance, including financing approval and getting an offer on a trade-in.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
KMXCARMAX INC.94.03-0.25-0.27%

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Still, buying a car is different than most online shopping, and the company said customers will be able to take a vehicle on a “solo test drive” before making a purchase. They also offer home delivery at many locations.

“We’re focused on providing a safe car buying experience and helping our customers any way we can,” Bill Nash, president and CEO of CarMax, said in a news release.

CarMax is adding contactless pickup to its locations. (Photo provided)

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The move comes after CarMax said it had closed about half its stores and would furlough 15,500 employees starting Saturday as a result of the pandemic.

However, most of CarMax’s service departments are still open and serving customers who need warranty work, maintenance or repairs, the company said Tuesday.

“Whether it’s through home delivery or curbside pickup for customers who need to purchase a vehicle, or through service maintenance for customers to keep their cars on the road, we’re here to help,” Nash said.

A car is parked in a contactless pickup spot at a CarMax dealership. (Photo provided)

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Like most industries, automakers and dealers have seen a dramatic drop in business amid the coronavirus. CarMax isn't the only car dealer offering increased online shopping options either, as many dealerships remain open due to states deeming their repair services "essential." Some automakers have even started offering home delivery for cars from their dealerships.

CarMax said last week that, in addition to the furloughs, its leadership had taken pay cuts and that it had instituted a hiring freeze, reduced inventory levels, cut back on marketing and stopped all store expansions and remodeling.

We are focused on positioning the company for a strong recovery when this crisis is over,” Nash said then.

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