As mad as it sounds, China’s Alibaba has decided open car vending machines in Shanghai and Nanjing by January 2018. And yes, these machines will literally vend cars on demand.
Alibaba already sells cars on its online portals and sees these new and experimental stores as a way to give users a better car-buying experience, reports TechinAsia. Here’s how it works:
You’re in the market for a new car and you see one on the street that you like. You pull out your phone and snap a picture using the Taobao app and then schedule a test drive. You then head to the car vending machine (Tmall Auto Facility) which will verify your identity via facial recognition. Once verified, the facility will identify your car and bring it to you. You hop in, enjoy a three-day test drive and pay for the car online if you like it. If you don’t like the car, you can return it and book another car for yet another three-day test. You cannot book the same car again for a test.
Not everyone can use the system, however. You need to be a ‘Super Member’ and have a certain minimum credit score on Alibaba’s credit scoring system. You’re also only allowed to test five cars in the initial testing phase.
As Digital Trends notes, however, Alibaba’s Tmall Auto Facility won’t be the first car vending machine to be made available. The US already boasts of four such machines and Singapore already has a supercar vending machine.
Updated Date: Dec 17, 2017 16:48 PM