The ‘vending machine’ dealership and the future of buying a car

An American car dealership has taken a new angle on the automotive industry and launched a 24-hour car “vending machine” in Atlanta, Georgia – the first of several it plans to open in the coming months.

The showroom, albeit not as we know it, comprises of three bays where customers can purvey the stock on show and choose a car of their preference without having to deal with a salesman, as transactions take place via computer. Customers can also pick up cars they’ve purchased beforehand through the company’s website.

Prices as a result are haggle-free, yet the dealership claims to be $1,500 cheaper on average than traditional dealers. That’s not to say there are now members of staff at the dealership; representatives are still on site, but more in an informational capacity and are not there to sell the cars, just there to help customers with their chosen vehicles.

When commenting on the future of car sales, AM-Online believe that about four per cent of new car sales – about 4.5 million units – could be sold completely online by 2020, compared to just 5,000 new cars sold solely online in 2011.

Some manufacturers, including Ford and Dacia, have already initiated online sites to influence this kind of consumer behaviour. However, whether this can match the elements the customer needs when buying a car – the emotional and physical elements to buying a car – remain to be seen.

Car buyers still need to touch and feel the materials of a car, see how the dash works and how it drives. Conventional dealerships such as A1 Carriages still continue to do well, so it’ll be interesting how the automotive industry evolves in the coming years.