Coming soon: a ‘car vending machine’

Coming soon: a ‘car vending machine’

The Chinese e-commerce company, Alibaba, is set to open its own car “vending machine” next year in order to make the process of buying a car “as easy as buying a can of Coke”.

This particular launch comes after car seller Autobahn Motors’ opening of its futuristic 15-storey showroom in Australia. The company did this last year and has since been billed as the “world’s largest luxury car vending machine”.

The Australian vending machine currently displays vehicles in approximately 60 slots, with customers located on the ground floor given the opportunity to choose a vehicle from a touchscreen display.

According to the company, the car then arrives to the customer within two minutes. This is thanks to an advanced system which can manage vehicle retrieval.

Reports have noted that Alibaba will follow in Autobahn’s footsteps with the launch of its brand new car vending machine. It is set to enable car buyers to brows cars on their smartphones and then press the buy button, which then releases the car from the display tower.

Speculations have reported that the company may have gotten this idea from a US company, Carvana. Carvana uses vending machine-like towers in order to sell used cars. Approximately 5 months ago, it opened an eight-floor structure which holds up to 30 cars. This is located in San Antonio, Texas.

In a statement, Yu Wei, the general manager of the automotive division o Aliba’s e-commerce platform has said that, the era of online car shopping has arrived. Additionally, the brand new automotive retail model is set to “make buying cars as easy as buying a can of Coke”.

The vending machine idea has been developed in order to reduce costs. These costs include storage and staff, which also taps into the growing demand for luxury goods by China’s middle classes.

The company is planning on plugging in this concept to its online system. This is due to the process of incorporating finances and data about a car buyer’s credit rating. Buyers with a good credit rating according to the system will be able to drive away in their chosen car after paying a 10pc deposit. They will then have to finance the car in monthly installments thereafter.

So, what do you think about the car vending machine prospect? Do you think it will take a long time for a dealer to do this in the UK? Or, is the car buying industry ok as it is?



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