Ford has teamed up with Alibaba’s Tmall to introduce a car vending machine in China.
Designed as part of the “Super Test Drive” experience, the massive vending machine is located in the Baiyun District of Guangzhou and holds up to 42 vehicles at a single time.
In order to access a vehicle, customers use their smartphone to setup an appointment and reserve the vehicle of their choosing. They then enter their information, pay a “small” fee and take a selfie.
It’s just like your corner shop’s soda vending machine. Only bigger, much bigger
When it comes time to pick up their vehicle, users enter a small building and visit a kiosk which recognizes them from the selfie they provided earlier. After confirming they’re ready for the test drive, the vending machine lowers the pre-selected vehicle into a parking spot at the base of the machine. Customers then enter the vehicle and drive away on a three-day test drive.
Three days is a pretty long time but Ford says it gives consumers a chance to “fully understand” their vehicles as well as an opportunity to experience them during typical scenarios such as commuting to and from work. When consumers return the vehicle, they can schedule another test drive or setup an appointment with a Ford dealer.
While it sounds odd that Ford would be charging a fee for test driving a vehicle, the company notes the fee will vary by user as it will account for their “credit scores and naughty values.” If a user decides to purchase a vehicle, then their test drive fee will be refunded.
The Super Test Drive event runs through April 23rd and Ford hopes it will provide a more “convenient, efficient and in-depth test drive experience.”