WE'VE ALL BEEN PECKISH enough to abandon any diets or moral stances on overpriced snacks to raid a nearby vending machine, but what would happen if we had access to one than vends cars.
Yep, April Fool's is less than a week away we'll grant you that, but Ford has teamed up with China's equivalent of Amazon, Alibaba, and made a giant vending machine that spits out Ford automobiles, such as the Mondeo and Explorer models, according to Gasgoo.
What may seem like a ridiculously over-the-top marketing stunt, the Super Test-Drive Center in Guangzhou is, in fact, a way to make it easy to access cars in order to give them a test drive. Given everything seems to be 'as-a-service', we guess there's no reason not to have test drives-as-a-service.
The 'vending machine' looks a bit like some scaffolding was forced into life as a multi-storey car park with a pair of cat eyes and ears stuck on top of it because...erm...China.
But the structure can house 42 Ford cars and present them to prospective buyers once they par a fee needed to use Alibaba's Tmall app and share a selfie. Once that's done, they then have the car for the next three days and can use it to pootle around Guangzhou.
We're not sure if Ford and Alibaba are familiar with the way people rag the hell out of hire cars, but we suspect the same could happen here, with Mondeos being returned unblemished on the outside but with fairly well-exercised engines, gearboxes and brakes.
However, the motorists of Guangzhou will only have a limited time to blast around town in new Ford as the vending machine will only run until 23 April.
This is not only one way to combine tech and cars to attempt for generating more sales, it could also give a glimpse at how the future of self-driving cars could work.
Rather than own a driverless car, people of the near future could simply saunter up to their local car vending machine and order an autonomous vehicle for the day or a trip. And once they are done with it the car can then make its own way back to the vending machine. If that is indeed the future, you heard it here first, probably. µ
Firm's first high-end speaker gets the thumbs up from us
Yes. Yes you can
A fantastic ultraportable that's almost devoid of innovation
Screen if you want to go faster