Car vending machines are slowly becoming a thing. Earlier this year, a 15-storey glass building opened in Singapore which dispenses pre-owned luxury cars. The owners of the property claimed it to be the world’s largest supercar dispensing machine. And now Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced that they are going to open car vending machines in China that will allow prospective buyers to see, test-drive and even buy on-site the cars they like. The two car vending showrooms will be located in Nanjing and Shanghai and will be built to look like a cat. This comes on the heels of reports of a possible partnership between Alibaba and Ford to utilize its automotive vending machines and infrastructure to sell vehicles in China.
To buy a car from one of these cat-themed vending machines, customers must have a score of over 700 with China’s Zhima Credit system along with being an accredited Alibaba Super Member. After that, they can simply select a vehicle from the app after which the prospective buyer will be confirmed through facial recognition and then they can pick up the vehicle for an extended test drive of up to three days or buy it and take it home. “Our thinking behind the Car Vending Machine is focused on helping users solve certain problems they face in the car-buying process,” Huan Lu, marketing director of Tmall’s automotive division (operated in China by Alibaba), said in a statement. “To do that, we are building a physical, experiential store that offers staffless car pickup through facial-recognition, three-day ‘deep’ test drives and a one-stop shop that displays [cars from] all mainstream brands at once.”