After announcing a deal to help Ford sell electric vehicles in China, Alibaba has unveiled how they plan to sell them: Car Vending Machines that look like futuristic buildings.
According to Tech Crunch, customers simply use Alibaba’s Taobao app to scan a car that they want to test drive. Once the system recognizes the vehicle, it allows users to pick a color, and once they enter basic information and snap a selfie, arrange for a test-drive if the vehicle is available.
Customers can then go to the unmanned vending machine facility and, after showing their face to verify their identity, their order is retrieved and the car is dispatched. The test-drive is for three days, after which they can buy the vehicle via Taobao or arrange to test drive a different model.
Alibaba said it will open two stores in January — one in Shanghai and the other in Nanjing. It also plans to open dozens more across China in 2018.
Alibaba is relying on its own financial services to vet and identify who is borrowing the vehicles. There is also a limit of five test-drives per two months. In addition, users only qualify for a free test drive if they have reached a certain level on its Zhima credit-scoring service, and they must also be Alibaba Super Members.