Buying a Ford vehicle in China is about to get incredibly futuristic.
Last year, Alibaba and Ford signed a deal to form a partnership to work together on new technological opportunities. Now, that partnership has matured in the form of a new car vending machine in Guangzhou, China.
As puzzling as a car vending machine might sound, this new concept, christened as ‘Super Test Drive Centre', is a real deal. It is basically an unstaffed, cat-themed digital vending machine that works with a dedicated app. Through this app, customers can select the car model they’re interested in, following which they make an electronic deposit, schedule a pickup time and finally take a selfie for the vending machine so that it can recognise them when they show up to for a test drive.
The Super Test Drive Centre is a huge multistory structure. When the car is being ‘dispensed’ to the customer, the whole process takes around 10 minutes, claims Alibaba. Customers can test drive the car for three days and decide if they really want it or not. Test drives, by the way, is free, but you need to have a very respectable credit score on Alibaba’s Zhima credit-scoring service.
The car vending machine will be fully functional from April 23, 2018. Alibaba’s ultimate goal is to make car buying process less complicated in China. It also plans to open more similar Super Test Drive Centres across China in 2018.