Many consumers feel that buying a used car is an unpleasant and seedy experience. Circuit City wanted to change that perception and make this type of purchase more enjoyable and professional. They hoped to create a unique atmosphere for the buyer where all the cars had warranties, a set price, and documentation of past repairs and maintenance. The well-groomed and well-dressed staff would provide outstanding service in an attractive car-buying environment. Circuit City knew they needed a naming firm to help them create a name that would embody this new car-buying concept and communicate the right kind of message.
In the process of this new company name development, Circuit City preferred an easy-to-understand, automotive-related name. They wanted something short enough to really pop on signage and billboards but suggestive enough that prospects driving by would have a pretty good idea of the concept. They also hoped for a name that supported their positioning of an optimal car-buying experience.
After NameStormers presented a variety of names, Circuit City selected Carmax. It was short, easy to spell, and not likely to be mispronounced. The “car” prefix directly related to the automotive business, and the “max” suffix suggested the maximum value of a used car. The URL was also available, and the name cleared preliminary trademark hurdles. The rest is history, with Carmax stores now a common sight in many markets around the country.