Car Vending Machine
by Lauren Morrison
The idea of internet based, “no-dealership” new car buying has been around for quite a while, although often state laws make it less than a reality. Still, most new car dealers will negotiate prices on the web. But, when it comes to buying used cars, the laws are a lot looser. And, one company has taken the unusual step of dispensing cars from what looks like a giant vending machine. So our FYI reporter Lauren Morrison had some spare change in her pocket, and headed off to Nashville, Tennessee to see how it really works.
LAUREN MORRISON: Sure, chips are nice…But something much better, and much bigger, comes out of this vending machine.”
JONATHAN GREER: “I think that what car buying has never been before, it is now is an experience.”
LAUREN MORRISON: Online used car dealer Carvana has been around since 2013....but with this glass tower automated dispenser in Nashville, Tennessee …and several others like it across the country….they’re changing the car buying game one coin at a time.
JONATHAN GREER: “I think that customers are really drawn to that and are really looking for an experience that’s really fun, easy, and fast.”
36LAUREN MORRISON: No trip to the dealership or pushy sales person…business begins here on Carvana’s website.
JONATHAN GREER: We have over 7500 vehicles on the website and they search like they would on any other website. They can take a 360-degree tour of the interior/exterior. We highlight the top imperfections on the vehicle. We want to make sure the customer has a really good understanding of what imperfections our used cars have.”
LAUREN MORRISON: The company has found customers in people who have embraced the “ditch the dealership” mentality… like Lisa Hogan, who’s family recently bought a 2014 Honda Civic using Carvana.
LISA HOGAN: “The great thing about it was, we physically bought this car from our house. I was in my pajamas.”
LAUREN MORRISON: While you can choose to have your car delivered right to your home, if you do that, you miss out on all the vending fun!
JONATHAN GREER: “We have people that show up and say, What is this? What is going on here? Tell us a little bit about it. What do you do? And those are fun. We love interacting with those customers and telling them about what we do and it gets them excited.”
LAUREN MORRISON: “This 5 story tall vending machine can hold 18 cars and inside, you’ll find just about every make and model.”
LAUREN MORRISON: After buying your car online, it’s stored in the vending machine and awaits your arrival. Carvana will even throw in a 200-dollar flight voucher to get you here…and customers come from far and wide for the experience.
JONATHAN GREER: “Seattle, Washington. Somebody flew all the way here from Seattle to get a Toyota Prius.
LAUREN MORRISON: Just like dropping change into a vending machine to snag a snickers….
LAUREN MORRISON: “This vending machine takes coins too!” The clink of the coin starts the vending process.
LAUREN MORRISON: The automated robotic system kicks into gear and retrieves the car from the tower…sends it down the machine…and into a bay for a waiting customer.
While the Carvana concept is cool, if you’re like me, you’d never buy a used car without a test drive, and a once over by your car care-giver. Well here, rather than just a trip around the block, you have a full 7 days to check it out. Not happy? Back in the vending machine it goes for a full refund.
JONATHAN GREER: “We feel like you can’t really know if you want a car with a 10-minute test drive. We want to make sure you can go put your groceries in it, you know, put your car seats in it for your children and see what it’s like to live in the car day in and day out.”
LAUREN MORRISON: The company claims an average savings of 14-hundred dollars compared to Kelly Blue Book prices…
JONATHAN GREER: “Our business model allows us to save money for the customers and we pass that along in the sticker price of the vehicles.”
LAUREN MORRISON: Any way you spin it, Carvana’s vending machine is shaking up the used car business….but you can’t shake a free car out of it. Trust me…I tried.