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This article was published on February 8, 2017

    Car vending machines prove Austin really is weird

    Car vending machines prove Austin really is weird
    Rachel Kaser
    Story by

    Rachel Kaser

    Internet Culture Writer

    Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

    Living in Austin just got weirder.

    A Central Texas dealership just built a coin-operated vending machine full of cars. The glass building housing the “vending machine” is five stories tall and stores up to 20 cars. It’s the brainchild of Carvana, an online-based used car company from Phoenix.

    “Coin-operated,” in this case, doesn’t refer to actually currency. You buy your car online via Carvana’s site and associates give you a large coin when you pick it up. If Carvana’s own advertising footage is to be believed, you insert the coin into a slot somewhere outside the glass tower.

    After you insert the coin, the mechanical part of the vending machine goes to work as you watch on a monitor. Robots find your vehicle inside the tower, lift it from its platform, and lower it onto another. They then move the car to a nearby bay where you can pick it up. You have seven days to put your new car through its paces, or return it for a full refund.

    There’s no word on whether or not this is actually faster than having a human drive your car to you from a nearby lot. It’s certainly more interesting, though.

    If you don’t live in the Austin area, but want to experience this for yourself, don’t worry. Carvana even supplies up to $200 to mitigate airfare — and includes “white glove transportation” from the Austin airport.

    This is part of Carvana’s campaign to make the car-buying process as fast and digital as possible. You can already complete the buying and trade-in process online. It also offers the option to drop off your trade-in vehicles at the vending machines.

    Carvana has already built two other “car vending machines,” the first in Nashville in 2015, and the second in Houston in December. It’s also launched a free car delivery service in Austin – that’s free delivery of cars, not delivery of free cars.

    You can find out more about the process on their website.