Buy your car instantly via contactless payment from this bizarre vending machine

Forget the hassle of going to dealership, haggling and so on because now you can buy a brand new car with the same ease of buying a soft drink on your lunch break. Just stroll up to the vending machine, tap and pay, and walk away.

World's First Car Vending Machine - Renault Zoe

Spitalfields, London was graced with the presence of a giant glass box and inside resided a brand new Renault Zoe, a compact electric hatchback. The vending machine, provided by popular online automotive sales website Auto Trader, accepted contactless payment via phones (presumably via Apple Pay and Google Pay) and allowed passerby to quickly purchase a car on the go.

This contactless payment system was bespoke to the machine and was capable of taking payments of up to £21,000. The car featured a ‘pre-haggle’ price meaning that consumers could skip the hassle of negotiating on the perfect price if they so wished.

World's First Car Vending Machine - Renault Zoe

A slightly ridiculous concept, you may think, but this social experiment aimed to highlight a point. According to a study of 2,000 Brits, 9 out of 10 consumers admit to being bad at haggling when it comes to buying a new car and 79% of people think that our European neighbours are far better at it then we are. The study also found that 41% of respondents held haggling as one of their top anxieties when it came to buying a new car.

The top 10 car buying anxieties were as follows:

  1. Having to haggle, negotiate and barter with someone on the price (41%).
  2. Hidden costs (39%).
  3. Worrying about making the wrong decision (28%).
  4. Having to wait a long time to actually receive the car after buying it (25%).
  5. Finding car terminology and jargon confusing (23%).
  6. The amount of time it takes to go through the process of purchasing (21%).
  7. Not properly understanding the financial options available (20%).
  8. Not knowing what questions to ask (19%).
  9. Not knowing the long-term running costs (18%).
  10. Conflicting reviews on cars (16%).

The novelty vending machine also served as a form of advertising for Auto Trader’s unique pre-haggled prices which can be found on their site.

The so-called ‘vending machine’ was a bespoke build made a reality by a team of six engineers over a period of 3 months. A custom key release system was necessary to make the experience functional, as well as integrated payment and door release mechanic.

World's First Car Vending Machine - Renault Zoe

All elements of the PR stunt were thought through – from the custom-designed display case to the car that was inside of it. The Renault Zoe was selected to be the car of choice because it was one of the most searched for EVs on the site according to Auto Trader’s data. The Zoe could be purchased for a low, reasonable price of £16,000 which is £6,470 off the recommended retail price of £22,470.

World's First Car Vending Machine - Renault Zoe

A spokesperson for Auto Trader said: “Buying a brand-new car is an exciting experience, but it can often be tarnished by anxiety around haggling and knowing whether you’re looking at the right price.

“So today we’re showcasing a real-life version on what can be found on Auto Trader; brand new cars at transparent pre-haggled prices that you can drive away today.

“The only difference is that this Renault Zoe can be purchased at the touch of a card, testing London car buyers’ appetite for electric cars as well as a more instant purchasing future.”

Although we may not all have the spare cash to just casually buy a Renault Zoe for £16,000 while we’re out and about, it certainly is a fascinating concept and an excellent marketing stunt!

World's First Car Vending Machine - Renault Zoe

We can’t say a Renault Zoe is enough to tempt us to splurge on an excessive impulse buy.

Which car would you be tempted to buy from a vending machine?

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