Giant Vending Machine Doles Out Fords in China

28 March, 2018, 00:51 | Author: Cecelia Webb
  • Ford vending machine begins dispensing cars in China

Customers also have the option to test other cars after that. The vending machine is unmanned and is operated entirely through Alibaba's Tmall app, a shopping app for smartphones.

In order to push New Retail, Alibaba has partnered with a slew of auto companies including Renault and Maserati.

Alibaba and Ford have revealed the first fruits of their recent partnership with a multi-storey vehicle "vending machine" that allows certain consumers to drive away in a matter of minutes.

Buyers will be given a three-day test drive before having to commit to a purchase.

As a side note, if you're wondering what's with the cat thingies that pop up on the roof of the structure, those represent the logo of the Tmall platform, an Alibaba owned Chinese-language website for business-to-consumer online retail.

However, the motorists of Guangzhou will only have a limited time to blast around town in new Ford as the vending machine will only run until 23 April. All users have to do is pay a fee through Alibaba's Tmall app and then take a selfie through the app to confirm the booking.

"If we lengthen the duration of test-drives, consumers can make buying decisions with more confidence and ease", Cao said.

For the record, this isn't the first instance where the automotive and transportation industry has been witnessing vehicle dealers set up auto vending machines.

It is not the first time that a company opens a vending machine for cars but this one is probably the first to offer test driving.

The multi-story vehicle vending machine in Guangzhou city marks the first phase of a plan to transform the traditional car-shopping model, according an Alibaba-owned news site. While sales growth last year slowed considerably to 3% year-on-year from the 13.6% seen in 2016, carmakers in the US and Europe have been shifting strategies to attract consumers in a country that still accounts for 30% of total global auto sales.

People can buy cars from a smartphone app in under ten minutes.


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