The facility lets prospective buyers test drive cars, and is the result of a partnership between Ford and Alibaba in Guangzhou

Purchasing a car can be an involved and stressful process. Buyers have to travel to a dealership, assess whether they are getting a fair price, wade through mountains of paperwork and push back against persistent up-selling. A new partnership between automaker Ford and Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba in Gunagzhou, China, is looking to change that.

Called the Super Test-Drive Center, the unstaffed and cat-themed ‘car vending machine’ houses dozens of Ford cars in a multi-story structure. Prospective buyers can download an app called Tmall, select the car they are interested in and take it for a three-day test drive. The service is powered by Alibaba, which is able to determine the social credit score and trustworthiness of the potential driver. If the score is above 700, they will be able to take the car out for free.

Alibaba says the process of verifying a customer’s identity takes no longer than 10 minutes, after which a car is dispensed. In the future Alibaba plans to build more kiosks across China, eventually allowing people to buy the car outright with a 10%  deposit and financing through Alibaba affiliates. We saw a recent similar story with Carvana in the U.S., demonstrating how brands are looking to lower the barriers to entry for large purchases such as a car, making it possible for people to simply press a few buttons and be on their way.

Alibaba

Tmall


Lead image via YouTube

Purchasing a car can be an involved and stressful process. Buyers have to travel to a dealership, assess whether they are getting a fair price, wade through mountains of paperwork and push back against persistent up-selling. A new partnership between automaker Ford and Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba in Gunagzhou, China, is looking to change that.

Called the Super Test-Drive Center, the unstaffed and cat-themed ‘car vending machine’ houses dozens of Ford cars in a multi-story structure. Prospective buyers can download an app called Tmall, select the car they are interested in and take it for a three-day test drive. The service is powered by Alibaba, which is able to determine the social credit score and trustworthiness of the potential driver. If the score is above 700, they will be able to take the car out for free.