Rather than visiting a sales lot, shoppers in China can now select a car online and then pick it up from a vending machine to take it for a test drive.
Alibaba’s Tmall has unveiled its “Super Test-Drive Center” in Guangzhou with over 100 Ford cars available for Chinese consumers to select from. Consumers can sign up on the Tmall or Taobao mobile app until April 23, pick up the selected car through an unmanned car vending machine in the centre, and get a three-day test drive for full experience of the vehicle before they decide to make the purchase.
The car vending machine is exclusively offering Ford models including the brand’s Explorer SUV, Mustang and Escort. The whole vending machine visit lasts no more than 10 minutes.
Gu Wanguo, General Manager of Vehicles at Tmall Auto, said the auto vending machine is an important step in Alibaba’s New Retail push.
“By leveraging Alibaba’s data intelligence and technologies, the auto vending machine and super drive test services can enable auto brand owners and distributors better serve their customers.”
Consumers can use the internet to access more accurate, convenient services and get a deeper understanding into particular vehicles, he said.
“In the meantime, we are opening our car vending machine’s infrastructure to the entire industry to leverage and enable their distributors, in hopes of helping upgrade the automotive sector as a whole.”
In December last year, Alibaba inked an agreement with Ford Motor to explore ways to leverage mobility and redefine the automotive ownership experience in China. The partnership on the new Tmall “Super Test-Drive Center” in Guangzhou marks an important step towards a buying experience that fully integrates the best of the online and physical worlds for Chinese consumers.
Alibaba also revealed plans to build similar auto vending machines in Beijing and Hangzhou, while continue exploring collaboration opportunities with Ford in cloud computing, digital marketing, as well as in-car operating systems with AliOS, Alibaba’s IoT operating-system developer.