PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s first car vending machine launched Thursday in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood.
It’s called Carvana, and it’s a web-based auto dealership that allows customers to pick up vehicles they purchase online at its garages.
Customers go to the garage, where they insert a big coin into a slot, just like a vending machine, and once the car is “vended,” buyers are able to then “test drive” the car for seven days.
“I can’t stand dealerships or car salesmen for that matter, so I would happily buy it online for a fix price,” said Nick Masino of Fishtown.
If customers don’t like the car within the week of purchase, they can return it and then test drive up to two other cars.
The vending machine concept may sound gimmicky, but by having customers make their purchase online, without a salesperson, buying a car can be less of a hassle. And by cutting out that middleman, Carvana’s vehicles may also be less expensive, according to Dr. Subodha Kumar, an Anderson Chair marketing professor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
“The key reason is they removed the middle man. The middle man was really eating up a lot of money, and they found a way to do that,” he said.
The Fishtown location is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania — and Carvana’s 14th car vending machine nationwide