The business of selling new cars have never been more competitive with manufacturers opting for almost any feasible option or channel for even the prospects of the slightest hike in sales.

Ford and Alibaba’s Tmall Vehicle has, unconventionally, opted for a “Super Test Drive” centre in a pilot project revolving around an over-sized vending machine for Ford’s cars. The building is equipped with an intelligent lifting system that can accommodate up to 42 cars at once.

Customers will be able to select from Ford’s 10 different models to sample including the Mondeo, the Explorer or even the Mustang. They are given three days to form a bond with the selected car before having to return it for someone else to have a go in.

All the test driver needs to do is pay a small fee with Alibaba’s Tmall app. Users with specific Tmall accounts could even be offered further discounts for a Ford of their liking. The user’s face will also be scanned at the self-service centre, presumably for leverage should the car not find its way back. If a purchase is finalised, the test drive fee can be returned.

Credit: Alibaba

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Pan Eu Jin
Regularly spend countless hours online looking at cars and parts I can't afford to buy. How a car makes you feel behind the wheel should be more important than the brand it represents - unless resale value is your thing.