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31 Mar, 2018 12:48

Alibaba opens China’s first ‘car vending machine’

Alibaba opens China’s first ‘car vending machine’

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and US carmaker Ford have opened a ‘car vending machine’ in China’s southern city of Guangzhou.

The five-story building houses up to 42 cars of various models, including the Ford Explorer SUV and the Mustang. It allows prospective buyers to see, test drive and purchase the vehicles via Alibaba's online shopping platform Tmall. 

The vending machine will be open to the public from April 23 and potential buyers will be given a three-day test drive before they have to commit to any purchase.

According to the general manager of vehicles at Tmall Auto, Gu Wanguo, “Sign-up is completely mobile on the Tmall or Taobao mobile APP.” 

“Once a Ford vehicle is chosen, consumers snap a selfie to ensure they are the only person who can take the car, put down a deposit electronically, and schedule a pickup time, all from within the app,” he said. 

Buyers can take out another car if they are not satisfied with their selection.

In 2017, Ford and Alibaba agreed a three-year partnership which allows the US carmaker various new retail opportunities, such as pre-sales, test drives and leasing options, through Tmall.

It’s not the first time that Alibaba is selling cars online and via mobile apps. Two years ago, Maserati sold 100 cars in 18 seconds during a flash sale on Tmall.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section