As many speculated it might, Austin just became the home of a Car Vending Machine (which might or might not be a proper noun), one of only three currently open in the country.
Carvana, an online used-car dealership that offers buyers free, next-day delivery within 100 miles of one of its distribution centers, announced the opening of the Austin Car Vending Machine on IH-35’s “Motor Mile” south of Stassney Lane on Tuesday.
The five-story, all-glass structure can store up to 20 vehicles. Carvana customers purchase their cars on the company’s website and then choose to have it delivered directly to their door as soon as the next day or to pick it up at the vending machine.
In a procedure rife with slapstick possibilities and photo ops, customers who choose the vending machine option receive an oversized Carvana coin upon arrival. They then drop the coin into a slot to activate the machine.
The purchased car is then automatically retrieved from the tower and conveyed through the machine until it reaches one of three delivery bays, where the customer takes possession.
In case things start to get too crazy (or not crazy enough), Carvana customer advocates are onsite to help with creating a “personalized and memorable pick-up experience.”
While there doesn’t necessarily seem to be an urgent need for such an experience, the towers are much more attractive and space-efficient than your average car dealership, and anything that makes shelling out cash for a vehicle more fun seems like a good move.
The Phoenix-based company launched its free car delivery service in Austin in late 2015. The only other cities that currently have the Carvana vending machines are Nashville and Houston.