DURBAN - A partnership with car company Ford and Alibaba has resulted in the opening of a car vending machine in China according to the Verge.
The partnership has led to both companies working on technological opportunities together, this car vending machine is just one of them.
The vending machine is based in Guangzhou, China and allows customers to test drive Ford cars that they are looking to buy. The vending machine is called the "Super Test-Drive Centre" and is unstaffed. Instead, it works with the Tmall app.
The process seems quite simple. Users need to choose a car model that they are interested in, make a deposit electronically, schedule a pickup time and take a selfie so the vending machine will recognise the driver when they come to pick up the car.
The test drive is free as long as the user has a credit score of 700 and upwards.
The Chinese government rates its citizens using a social ranking system. Alibaba has their own credit ranking system called Zhima or Sesame Credit which has unclear connections to the governments social system, which in the end will take over credit rankings.
In communications with the Verge, Alibaba said that users that have a Zhima score of under 700 will have to pay a fee.
According to Wired, users start with a score of 550 when they don't have a transaction history, with scores varying from 350 to 950.
When the user gets to the vending machine, they will authenticate their identity and then the car will be dispensed. The process is fast and according to Alibaba, it does not take more than 10 minutes.
Customers can then drive the car for 3 days, in various situations like a regular commute or a trip to the grocery store. It has been previously reported that Alibaba would be building kiosks across China and that customers could also purchase the car with a 10% deposit and finance through Alibaba affiliates.
The kiosk is not the first car vending machine. In Nashville, a five storey, fully automatic vending machine that had oversized coins opened in Nashville in the United States in 2015.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE