Alibaba and Ford Team Up to Unveil Car Vending Machine in Guangzhou
E-commerce behemoth, Alibaba, and one the biggest automakers, Ford, have united to unveil a car vending machine—called the Super Test-Drive Center—in the Baiyun District of Guangzhou, China. Car buyers have the option of purchasing or trying a car of their liking through an app.
Users of Tmall, Alibaba’s flagship online shopping platform, with good credit scores can buy a car from the machine without any human help in under 10 minutes. Now, that’s superfast!
The process is so simple:
- Select a model on Alibaba’s Taobao mobile app.
- Buyers will have their face scanned by the app.
- Upon arrival at the machine, buyer’s identity will be verified before the vehicle is delivered.
“Sign up is completely mobile on the Tmall or Taobao mobile APP,” said Gu Wanguo, General Manager of Vehicles at Tmall Auto.
“Once a Ford vehicle is chosen, consumers snap a selfie to ensure they are only person who can take the car, put down a deposit electronically, and schedule a pickup time, all from within the app,” he added.
This five-storey vending machine facility came out of a partnership signed two years ago between Ford and Alibaba, and houses 42 cars, including the likes of the Mustang and Ford Explorer.
The vending machine will be open to the public from 2nd to 23rd April, and buyers are given a 3-day test drive before they have to commit to any purchase. Similar machines are being planned in Beijing and Hangzhou as well.
Imagine the hassle of getting your documents ready, submitting a loan application, waiting for the loan to be approved, getting the car properly inspected, taking delivery of the car and more, reduced to a mere 10 minutes.
Alibaba is no stranger to selling cars online and via mobile apps. In 2016, Maserati sold a startling 100 cars in 18 seconds during a blitz sale on Tmall.
Electric carmaker Tesla has been pioneering direct sales straight from the internet, where online car purchases have gathered traction. Hyundai, Daimler Benz, BMW and Volvo too have all been experimenting with selling cars on their websites in recent years.
Time and simplicity of the buying process are critical factors. With the buzzword being ‘online’ in this day and age, this would seem to be the faster and simpler way cars could be sold in the near future, wouldn’t it?