Ford and Alibaba recently announced that the companies will be working together to enter China’s electric vehicle market. At the time, the statement said that the companies will be exploring new ways to sell cars and now, more details regarding the attempt has come to light. According to a recent announcement, both of the companies are planning to open two fully automated vending-machine stores in January 2018.
When the project goes online, entire transaction will be handled online. For instance, a customer can take a picture of the car using the Taobao app. Afterwards, if you would like to schedule a test drive, you will need to add your information to the picture along with a selfie. Then you will need to head to Tmall auto facility to verify your identity. Following successful verification, your desired car will be delivered to you for up to three days test drive. If you are satisfied with the car’s performance, then you can purchase the automobile using your phone.
Talking about the latest initiative, Huan Lu told TechinAsia, “Our thinking behind the Car Vending Machine is focused on helping users solve certain problems they face in the car-buying process. 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.”
However, you will need to qualify to use this latest service. In order to buy cars using this service, you required to be a Super Member and have a certain level on Alibaba’s Zhima Credit scoring system.