Online used car retailer Carvana, which has revolutionized how people buy cars, is back with another innovation — the world’s first coin operated car vending machine that can dispense cars in a fully automated process. The five-story glass tower, which can house as many as 20 used cars at a time, stands on Interstate 65 in the US city of Nashville, in Tennessee. Carvana said the move was to simplify the car delivery process, and at the same time make picking up the car an experience for the buyer.
Carvana, a technology start-up based in Phoenix, has been selling used cars online since 2013. Typical of online shopping sites, Carvana allows customers to browse its selection of used cars online with high-resolution photos and 360-degree virtual tours. Once a vehicle is selected, customers can get financing, trade in a vehicle, and sign contracts — everything done online. The car is then delivered to the door or picked up from the company’s store. Buyers get a 7-days test-drive period after which they can return the car if they aren’t satisfied.
The online model has allowed Carvana to cut down on staff and overhead, and according to its own estimates, save customers around US$2,000 in the process. Now with the new vending machine, even the pickup is unmanned.
Customers buy the car online, like before, and then proceed to the vending machine as soon as their car is ready to pickup. Upon entry into the lobby, the customer receives an oversized coin that they place into a slot. The coin triggers an automated process where a machine spins and grabs the vehicle, bringing it to a track that delivers the car to one of three bays. The entire process is accompanied by a grand light and sound show.
Those customers who live outside Nashville but want to pick up from the vending machine, Carvana will subsidize $200 in airfare and arrange transportation from the airport to the Nashville facility.