These days you can get everything from an iPhone to a hot pizza from a vending machine. But would you buy a car?
You can do just that in a few cities in the U.S. and China. But it’s not as easy as walking up, pumping in some change and pushing a few buttons for a new car. Wouldn’t that be great though? I’ll have the red Hyundai Veloster, B-7, thanks.
Right now the vending machines are designed to deliver a car you’ve already picked out.
Carvana’s Car Vending Machines
In Tempe, Arizona, Carvana Co. opened its twelfth and largest car-vending machine. The nine-story, 34-car glass tower lets customers pick up a vehicle after they’ve bought it online.
Upon arriving at the car vending machine, customers receive a commemorative, oversized Carvana coin to activate the vending process and transport the vehicle to the delivery bay. The pickup process typically takes only minutes, compared to hours haggling at the dealership.
If you’re not able to pick up your car from a vending machine, Carvana will deliver it free to your home or office.
Once a customer accepts a car, Carvana offers a seven-day test drive ownership period. The customer can return it for any reason for a refund.
The other cities that are home to Carvana Car Vending Machines are Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Nashville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and Washington, D.C.
For customers who don’t live near a vending machine, Carvana will subsidize $200 in airfare and arrange transportation from a nearby airport.
Ford’s Super Test-Drive Center in China
Car shoppers in Guangzhou, China can use a smartphone app to select a car from a vending machine.
A partnership between Ford and online retailer Alibaba created the Super Test-Drive Center that houses up to 42 Fords in the five-story building. It’s basically a Ford-branded garage with rotating platforms, similar to parking garages commonly seen in Japanese cities and other countries in Asia.
It’s easy to use: just select the car you want through the Alibaba’s Tmall app, and you have the option of taking it on a three-day trial period. The system allows you to test drive up to two cars at a time.
The Alibaba online platform includes the Taobao mobile apps for users to browse cars and then snap a selfie to confirm the reservation before retreiving the car from the vending machine. Facial recognition technology matches the user with the vehicle when the metal tray it’s in whirls down to ground level.
The goal is to change the typical car buying experience. Buying a car at a dealership can last anywhere from half an hour to something like a time warp experience where each minute feels like a year.
You still have to have an acceptable credit rating and the means to pay for the car. But picking up your new vehicle from a vending machine makes for a great story.
Phoenix Business Journal: https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2018/06/25/a-9-story-car-vending-machine-check-out-carvanas.html
Business Wire: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180620005316/en/Carvana-Opens-Countrys-Largest-Car-Vending-Machine