Ford and Alibaba Unveil a Car Vending Machine in China


Car vending machine is not a dream anymore. The U.S automaker giant, Ford and China’s e-commerce giant, Alibaba came together and build a gigantic car vending machine where you can try and buy.

Welcome to the era of car vending machines. This partnership was announced by Alibaba in 2016 itself, but the dream has become a reality in 2018.

The facility has come out in Guangzhou which is referred as the Super Test-Drive Center. The center houses different models of Ford cars in the in the multistory building. Now the car shoppers in Guangzhou can buy or try a car with the help of smartphone app, Tmail and the car vending machine.

The system carefully uses Alibaba’s services to tap potential buyers with discounts and incentives based on their bonding with Alibaba’s ecosystem. This vending machine gives the look of a futuristic building and has a capacity of 42 cars. The cars revolve in a wheel fashion until the required car is found by the buyer.

This joint strategic collaboration is trying to identify new opportunities in order to redefine the consumer retail experience and also explore the solution for sustainable mobility. Storing cars in such a design eliminates theft, damage and gives more storage space for the cars. The number of test drives is limited to five in a month.

After this launch in Guangzhou, Alibaba further plans out to launch similar car vending machine services to more cities across China. And also Ford signed a deal with Alibaba to produce 15 hybrid car models by 2025. This will definitely give an edge to Ford in the global race of electric cars adoption.

Similar car vending machine idea is operated by a startup company, Carvana across the United States headquartered in Tempe, Arizona. This startup allows its users to insert a special coin into the receptacle to get their car delivered from a machine. Recently they announced plans to open a 7-story vending machine in Chesterfield.

It will be interesting to see whether this idea of buying cars through a vending machine, will click or not, will it get translated into a sustainable business model, only time will tell.