Alibaba shows off ‘car vending machine’

China’s online shopping giant wants to shake up the way people buy cars.

Alibaba has just shown off its car vending machine. It plans to open two of them in January.

GIF by Tech in Asia, from Alibaba’s video.

Before you rush to the weirdly-shaped building, here’s how it works. First, use your phone to scan any car you fancy on the street using Alibaba’s shopping app.

GIF by Tech in Asia, from Alibaba’s video.

After scheduling a test drive in the app, fill in your info and snap a selfie.

GIF by Tech in Asia, from Alibaba’s video.

If you are an “Alibaba super member,” you won’t even need to leave a deposit before you head to the massive car vending machine to pick up your wheels, according to the company.

Now, as shown in Alibaba’s video, skip joyously to the car vending machine as reveries of a shiny new motor block out thoughts of the fast-approaching abyss.

GIF by Tech in Asia, from Alibaba’s video.

Once you get to the staffless Tmall Auto facility, named for Alibaba’s marketplace, you gain access via facial recognition.

GIF by Tech in Asia, from Alibaba’s video.

Then your selected car will be retrieved from the automated, multi-floor garage.

GIF by Tech in Asia, from Alibaba’s video.

Now you can drive off, free to spend an entire three days with the car.

GIF by Tech in Asia, from Alibaba’s video.

If you like the car, you can buy it within the shopping app. Alibaba’s payment wing, Ant Financial, has loans on offer. The company establishes your rating using its Zhima Credit scoring system.

Users can only test-drive each model once, and they can’t test drive more than a total of five times during the initial two months of the program, said Alibaba in a statement.

“Our thinking behind the Car Vending Machine is focused on helping users solve certain problems they face in the car-buying process. 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,” said Huan Lu, marketing director of Tmall’s automotive division.

Alibaba is no stranger to selling cars online, but this is the first time it has created a physical storefront for them.

A company in Singapore earlier this year opened its own supercar vending machine:

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