According to a video posted on Twitter and YouTube by Alibaba, customers looking to test-drive Ford vehicles can head to the new cat-themed "Super Test-Drive Center."
The digital vending machine works with Alibaba's Tmall and Taobao app. People swipe through a selection of Ford vehicles on the app (there are reportedly 100 to choose from, including the Explorer SUV, Mustang, Edge and Everest models) and pick the car model they're most interested in test driving. Then, they put down a nominal deposit electronically, schedule a pickup time, and take a selfie so the vending machine can "recognise" them when they pick up the car for a test drive.
The video shows how vehicles are dispensed from the multistory structure. Alibaba says the process lasts no longer than 10 minutes. Customers can keep the car for three days.
China is the biggest car market in the world. But the most exciting thing about this market isn't that people are buying a lot of cars - it's how people are buying them. Alibaba's #Tmall partnered with @Ford to launch this "Super Test-Drive Center" in China. Take a look! pic.twitter.com/R070YDq2by— Alibaba Group (@AlibabaGroup) March 26, 2018
Alibaba is no stranger to selling cars online and via mobile apps. South China Morning Post reports that in 2016, Italian supercar maker Maserati sold 100 cars in 18 seconds during a flash sale on Alibaba's e-commerce platform Tmall.
But this isn't the first vending machine to dispense cars. In Singapore, a 15-floor high vending machine dispenses luxury cars such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Porsches.
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