RICHMOND, Va.– Quality continues to be the most influential factor for car buyers the second year running, with more than double the amount of respondents choosing it over price, according to a recent telephone survey conducted for CarMax, Inc., the nation’s largest retailer of used cars. In fact, as quality increased from year to year, both price and safety fell in percentage points as considerations for car buyers.

Forty-five percent of Americans who have purchased a vehicle say that quality has 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 – 53 percent of men and 37 percent of women chose quality. Resale and environmental factors were least important, at seven and six percent respectively.

“Choosing a vehicle that balances high quality with a fair price provides the value that consumers are looking for,” said Tracy Hanson, Nashville region vice president of service operations. “It’s why our vehicles go through a rigorous inspection and are thoroughly reconditioned. Our customers can buy a used car for less money than a new vehicle without compromising on quality.”

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

Responses 2011 Percentages 2010 Percentages
Quality 45 37
Price 22 28
Safety 15 22
Resale value 7 4
Environmental or green factors 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 6 – 11, 2011 and August 19 – 22, 2010. Of those surveyed, three percent had no response.

Consumers can search thousands of quality used cars on or visit their local CarMax store to browse a large selection of vehicles. Each vehicle is reconditioned, goes through more than a 125-point quality inspection 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 2011 “100 Best Companies to Work For,” is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars. Headquartered in Richmond, Va., CarMax currently operates 107 used car superstores in 52 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 28, 2011, the company retailed 396,181 used cars and sold 263,061 wholesale vehicles at our in-store auctions. For more information, access the CarMax website at


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