Just when you though the concept of a car vending machine couldn’t be made any stranger, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has previewed the cat-shaped car vending machines it will soon open in Nanjing and Shanghai.
To use the upcoming car vending machines, interested customers must first have a score of over 700 with China’s Zhima Credit system. Additionally, they must be an accredited Alibaba Super Member.
From here, customers will be able to download a dedicated smartphone app that will allow them to select one of the vehicles from the vending machine to take on a three-day test drive or to buy it out-right. Upon being verified by either facial recognition or a log-in code, the vehicle will be delivered to the ground floor of the vending machine.
Users will be restricted to one test drive of each vehicle and allowed no more than five test drives in the first two months of the program, CNET reports. The likes of Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Volvo will all participate.
“Our thinking behind the Car Vending Machine is focused on helping users solve certain problems they face in the car-buying process,” said marketing director of Tmall’s automotive division (operated by Alibaba) Huan Lu.
“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."
Alibaba intends on opening up dozens of other car vending machines across China in the coming 12 months.