The modern world has become incredibly disposable by nature. Rather than horde or look to reuse, the average person now throws away much more than they did in the past, with everything from consumer electronics to clothing considered disposable items.
In the automotive sector, things have tended to be different. The sheer costs associated with purchasing a completely new vehicle mean that most are likely to stick with theirs for at least a few years.
While fleet managers may purchase more regularly and decrease the average length of such a cycle – especially if they want to pursue the most modern and economical vehicles with an eye on unlocking even more value from fuel cards – the vast majority of people don't have the time or want to go to the effort of consistently replacing their cars, vans and trucks.
However, in the future, the process of choosing and buying a new vehicle could be as easy as picking up a snack. Well, that's if one vehicle seller in the US gets its way, with its giant car vending machine.
— Wired UK (@WiredUK) November 15, 2015
Fewer middle men, fewer costs
Carvana is the company responsible, and it approaches the process of buying a car a little differently. Rather than be directly affiliated with any dealership network, the company aims to cut out the middle men, require less financial input for paperwork and administration as a result, and deliver new cars directly to the driveways of buyers.
Now, its car vending machine is set to make that already easy process even simpler. While the car, van or truck is paid for in the usual manner, the company does actually give you a giant coin to release your new vehicle, cutting out much of the complexity in the delivery process.
At present, Carvana only has one such facility built in Nashville, Tennessee. Its series of robots stack up to 20 cars in a variety of ways, and there are three bays in which new owners can take delivery.
If it still sounds too good to be true, this video from the company shows how this rather innovative vehicle delivery system works:
Ease of delivery
The whole concept may seem like a gimmick as you'll still have to purchase the vehicle and fill out the paperwork in the traditional way, but does the car vending machine offer a glimpse into the future?
Well, it goes without saying that both individuals and businesses are looking for more convenience in day-to-day transactions. While purchasing a new car, van or truck may still require a sizeable amount of money, the whole process could become a more streamlined one.
For fleet managers in particular, it will still take a lot of legwork to find the right vehicle. After all, it needs to be safe, technologically advanced, and of course, efficient (with business fuel cards in mind).
The lead time on purchasing the right vehicle through the more traditional channels may be several months as things stand, especially if the manufacturer in question has a backlog of orders to fulfil. However, with unique concepts such as Carvana's vending machine, the process could take days – or even hours – rather than months.
While the company has no plans to launch its concept in other markets just yet, the process of buying a vehicle here in New Zealand could be completely different in a few years' time, with convenience set to be pushed to the forefront of vehicle buyers' wants and needs.