It’s hard not to wonder what it’s like to activate that eight-story, clear glass box loaded with cars that towers over South Boulevard. This first “car vending machine” in Charlotte opened this month under the ownership of Carvana.
Those who support this type of car dispenser say its footprint is much smaller than a traditional car dealership. It can hold a total of 32 cars at once.
Curious? This how you use the Carvana vending machine:
(1) Customers start at Carvana’s website, where they can buy a car online and choose to have it delivered or pick it up at the vending machine.
(2) If they choose the latter (which, in C5’s opinion, they should, for the fun of it), they schedule a time to go to the vending machine site at 3631 South Blvd. It’s open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
(3) Customers arrive at the vending machine site, where they receive a silver “commemorative, oversized Carvana coin.”
(4) They insert the coin. It activates the machine with a rumble and transports the vehicle down from the tower to a ground-floor delivery bay.
(5) A robotic lift takes the car down and slides it to the customer, with no human intervention.
No, the cars don’t get stuck in the tower. No, you can’t shake it for a free one. That’s according to Ryan Keeton, Carvana co-founder and chief brand officer.
“This is pure fulfillment,” said Keeton, standing in front of the vending tower. The transaction takes about 15 to 30 minutes, he said, vs. several hours at a dealership. Customers fill out all of the required documentation, sign sales contacts and can arrange financing online. If they trade in a car, Carvana will send a hauler to their house to pick it up.
The company’s goal is to be “Amazon for cars,” Keeton said.