Carvana Opens Second Car 'Vending Machine' for the Credulous

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
carvana opens second car vending machine for the credulous

Online used-car dealer Carvana opened its second coin-operated car “vending machine” in Houston, Texas. The four-bay location allows customers either to pick up cars they’ve purchased through the company’s website, or to buy one of the 30 vehicles in stock at the location.

While customers can have their purchase delivered directly, Carvana must think there are enough interested rubes willing to make a pitstop in Houston on their pilgrimage to the world’s biggest ball of twine to make this gargantuan novelty worthwhile. Considering that Las Vegas has remained on the map, there might be something to that way of thinking.

“People responded so positively to our Nashville Vending Machine that we knew we had to bring the experience to additional markets. Houston is a natural fit for a Car Vending Machine, and we are thrilled to be able to offer customers this unique and, we hope, memorable pick-up option in addition to the free, as-soon-as next day delivery services we launched in Houston late last year,” said Ernie Garcia, founder and CEO of Carvana.

The company says the entire process is automated, although videos from the original site in Nashville always show a Carvana representative present — usually standing on a Hovertrax — to help select your vehicle, use the machine, and answer any questions that you might have. According to the company, buyers also have to arrive at a pre-scheduled time before the 7 P.M. closing time.

The giant fake coin and the cosmic-bowling lighting really finish off this futuristically hokey masterpiece. It’s a gimmick and one Carvana seems committed to using to drum up some attention. The company said it will fund customers’ airfare up to $200 and arrange transportation from George Bush Intercontinental Airport to the vehicle dispenser for those who live more than 100 miles outside of the Houston area.

According to VentureBeat, Carvana raised a sizable $160 million last August, bringing the total money raised to just below $500 million. Meanwhile, New York-based used car dealer Vroom took in $218 million over the last three years. There is a clear market for buying and selling cars online and, so long as nobody tells prospective buyers that major cities have had automated parking garages for years, Caravana will have its ace in the hole.

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  • Madanthony Madanthony on Dec 16, 2016

    I hate when you go to buy a car out of the car vending machine and it gets stuck and is half hanging out. Although if you are lucky, you will get the stuck car that the guy before you left and the next car.

  • Shipping96 Shipping96 on Dec 16, 2016

    There is one under construction in Austin. By I35 next to all the big car dealerships.

  • FreedMike Next up should DEFINITELY be the Cadillac Eldorado. On the subject of Caddies, I saw a Lyriq in person for the first time a couple of days ago, and I'm changing my tune on its' styling. In person, it works quite well, and the interior is very nicely executed.
  • Probert Sorry to disappoint: any list. of articles with a 1 second google search. It's a tough world out there - but you can do it!!!!!!
  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.