In the midst of revamping its sales strategy in China, Ford has formed a three-year partnership with tech company Alibaba to sell in vehicles in one of its giant vending machines built like a cat. The partnership also includes Ford directly selling cars on Alibaba’s web store, but the appeal of the vending machine is to have consumers touch, see, and test drive their desired car before making a purchase via its app.
Buyers can scan a car on the street in the app and it will direct them to a vending machine that holds the car. The unmanned machine will then give you a car via facial recognition/log-in code via the app, at which point you’re free to have it for up to 3 days or buy with a 10 percent down payment and financing through Alibaba’s affiliate. In order to qualify, consumers must have a 700 in China’s social credit system and you’re limited to one test drive on each model, with a maximum of five test drives overall in the first two months as a member. The vending machines will rollout in Shanghai and Nanjing, with more cities to be announced. Audi, BMW, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo also queuing up to be included.
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