Vending machines are capable of selling pretty much anything to anyone these days. From default items such as sodas and snacks all the way to expensive gadgets and smartphones, vending machines serve to provide convenient areas for buying items for the on-the-go individual. Normally we would associate these machines with handheld items, but what if this idea was scaled towards an even larger proportion; What if somebody tried applying the ‘vending machine business model’ towards cars? Well, an online-car-buying startup from Phoenix, Arizona may have made it work.
In an effort to make car-buying a completely white-gloved affair, Carvana have expanded their online car purchases beyond the walls of the world wide web and onto a five-storey glass building that acts as their automotive vendo. The car vendo, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is according to Carvana CEO Ernie Garcia, a “metaphor for Carvana’s business principles: easy and efficient with the customer in complete control.”
After purchasing a vehicle online, buyers may opt to have their vehicle picked up at the Nashville vendo. Buyers from outside the state may have their flights subsidized by Carvana (up to USD $200) to fly in and pick up their car. Once there, buyers are given a “Carvana-branded coin” to insert into a machine that will eventually retrieve their selected vehicle and bring it to a delivery bay to be driven away by its new owner.
This interesting business model has apparently drawn some attention. Despite having only recently started in 2013 and establishing the vendo itself in 2015, Carvana have reportedly received $160 million in investments. Apart from their $300 million startup, this brings their total funding to $460 million.
Since the success of the Nashville car vendo, Carvana have put up another facility in Atlanta. With the additional investment in tow, perhaps other states may soon see a car vendo as well.