Car Industry

This car vending machine lets you pay for the vehicle with a phone

No physical payment needed, just a smartphone.

What a time to be alive.

Auto Trader

Car vending machines aren't a new idea, but for some, it might be something a relief. No dealership, no salesman and no haggling. Auto Trader has a different twist on the idea.

The company's first car vending machine is now operational in in London, England, and it will let potential buyers use their phones to buy the car. The company underscored the ability to bypass haggling with the vending machine that uses contactless technology to pay for the car with just one's phone. The finer details, such as financing and insurance, were't discussed, but cars sold by way of the vending machine will cost no more than £21,000. I doubt many people have the equivalent of $25,400 sitting on their credit cards for use with Apple Pay or a similar service.

As for where the cars come from, they're still from dealerships, but Auto Trader prenegotiates the price and then plops them in the vending machine. For example, the first vending machine houses a Renault Zoe with a pre-agreed price of £16,000, or about $19,000 at current exchange rates. The car comes from a local dealer that Auto Trader said agreed to the final sale price with the company. The final cost also reflects the Auto Trader prices the website publishes online.

When it's time to buy and finalize the deal, there's a custom point-of-sale system and a unique mechanical door to unleash the car when finished. Despite how easy the company makes it sound, a recent study suggested younger buyers actually want dealerships involved.

In fact, Generation Z and millennials were more likely to visit more dealers during their car-shopping process. The average Gen Z or young millennial shopper visited 3.8 dealerships. Further, 83% said they wouldn't buy a car without test driving it first, and 89% said the test is the most influential part of the process.

Noting the preference of the youngest generation, it doesn't seem like dealers are going anywhere. Yet, for the tech-savvy and trendsetters, there's a vending machine in London calling your name.

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