CarMax employees get discounts on their vehicles

Company: CarMax.

Area locations: Ellicott City, Laurel, Rockville, Sterling and Woodbridge.

Number of employees: About 1,000 locally; 16,000 nationally.

Crystal Johnson knew exactly what she wanted in a used car: It had to be sporty, have fewer than 40,000 miles and cost less than $20,000.

But most of all, it had to accelerate quickly.

“I wanted something that can get up and go,” said Johnson, a buyer-in-training at CarMax’s Sterling location. “If I’m at a red light and the light turns green, it better start moving fast. I’m not one of those people who wants to sit around and wait.”

A couple of weeks ago, she found what she was looking for: a 2010 Subaru Legacy.

After a $500 employee discount, Johnson paid $19,490 for the car. She picked it up from the lot on Monday.

“It’s great, it’s actually better than what I thought it’d be like,” Johnson said.

CarMax, the national chain of dealerships, gives employees and their families $500 off any new or used car. Interested buyers can log on to the company’s Web site, find what they’re looking for and have the vehicle transferred to a location near them.

After 14 days on the lot, unsold cars at CarMax are up for grabs to employees for $300 more than cost, up to a maximum discount of $3,000.

“It’s a great benefit to take advantage of,” said Elia Imler, who handles public relations for the Richmond-based company.

Imler says both she and her sister-in-law have used the company discounts. Six years ago, Imler bought her dream car: a black Jeep Liberty.

“I’d been keeping my eye out for a couple of weeks,” she said. “And as soon as I found it, I had it transferred up from Florida.”

But best of all, she said, she paid $2,500 less than the listed price.

Abha Bhattarai covers local retail, hospitality and banking for The Washington Post. She has previously written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
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