We’ve been rather vocal over the disruption that has occurred due to our Connected Society investing theme but also the disruption yet to be had. We see the potential partnering of Ford and Alibaba supporting our view that the current Retailmegaddon is poised to spread from beyond the mall and brick & mortar retail to grocery, banking and auto dealers. We do expect new business models to emerge as this happens, but candidly even we didn’t see automotive vending machines on the near-term horizon. It is a pretty slick way of fostering Alibaba’s credit card business and we have to wonder if Amazon intends to copy aspects of that strategy the way it used Singles Day as a basis for Prime Day?
Ford and China’s largest eCommerce operator, Alibaba, are reportedly close to reaching a deal that would enable the auto dealership to attempt selling its cars online in the country via Tmall, Alibaba’s retail unit, and via an auto vending machine Alibaba is developing.
If the deal is inked, it would give Ford a way to increase its growth in China and position itself to be a leading player in an online marketplace for vehicles in China. Consumers are already comfortable buying cars over the internet, with car makers in the past doing brisk business online in the country.
Ford’s Global Chief Spokesman Mark Truby told Reuters that under the deal, cars purchased online would be delivered by franchised Ford retail stores. The locations would maintain and repair the vehicles as well.Ford could also sell its cars through the impending “Automotive Vending Machine,” in which Chinese consumers shop for new cars on their mobile devices and pick them up from a massive vertical vending machine. With the service, consumers who have good credit from Alibaba’s Sesame Credit will be required to put 10 percent down for their new vehicle and make monthly payments via its Alipay digital payment service.