It’s finally here, the giant ‘car vending machine’ once was a fantasy is now a reality and it is open for business in China. Ford and Alibaba teamed up to design a massive machine, located in Guangzhou, China, and offers a variety of vehicles for three-day test drives. The five-story contraption, which holds 42 vehicles in all, is essentially a Ford-branded garage with rotating platforms, similar in design to parking garages commonly seen in Japanese cities and other countries in Asia.
You have to pay via an app before turning up to collect the car from the vending machine labelled the “Super Test-drive Center.”
So this how it works, you simply browse the app for the car you’d like to take out for a spin and then take a selfie. This enables the vending machine’s facial recognition technology to confirm your booking, and presumably also gives the cops a decent image to work with if you fail to return the car.
When you arrive at the Super Test-drive Center, you’ll need to tap on the digital display so the machine can match your face with your car selection. No, the car doesn’t drop into a tray like a regular vending machine. The machinery grinds into action, with your chosen vehicle brought down to ground level in just a few minutes. The system lets you test up to two cars consecutively, which ensures you don’t end up “test driving” Ford cars for life rather than making an actual purchase. But if you have a decent credit score, calculated according to previous Alipay transactions, you can try out the cars for free. Otherwise you’ll have to pay a fee, though exactly how much isn’t immediately clear.
What a way to leverage digital channels and explore new retail opportunities plus redefine how consumers purchase and own vehicles.
In other news, Ford recently announced “China 2025 Plan” which will be focusing on introducing more than 50 all-new vehicles by 2025, including 15 electric vehicles. Peep the video below.