The company has made a deal with Ford in China to manufacture electric vehicles to facilitate sales.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) has a solid history of retail innovations, but this latest move may just take the cake. Once the system recognizes the vehicle it lets them pick a color and, once they enter basic information and snap a selfie, arrange for a test-drive if the vehicle is available.
This announcement comes shortly after reports of a possible partnership between Alibaba and Ford to utilize its automotive vending machines and infrastructure to sell vehicles in China.
For recognition of the individual, Facial recognition technology is used.
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Those interested in taking one of the three-day test drives must jump through a few hoops.
For some context, this isn't the first time that a company dabbled in the concept of a giant vending machine for viewing and purchasing cars. It's an attempt to simplify auto buying, letting users browse, test drive and buy a vehicle in a matter of minutes.
The person can then head to the machine and get the confirmation to take the vehicle for a test drive.
Users only qualify for a free test drive if they have reached a certain level on its Zhima credit-scoring service, while they must also be Alibaba Super Members.
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Alibaba intends to open the two facilities in January 2018.
To cut down on abuse of the system, users are limited to one test drive of each model with no more than five test drives in the first two months of the program. One will be in Shanghai and another one will be in Nanjing.
Alibaba is a big online retailer of all the things in China and the company is set to begin selling cars out of a vending machine building that has cat ears and eyes on it. Alibaba was talking about auto vending machines back in August of this year, and is now closer to rolling them out.
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