CHARLOTTE, NC (Ely Portillo/The Charlotte Observer) - An eight-story, clear glass box full of cars on South Boulevard that's drawn curious stares for months is opening Wednesday: Charlotte's first "car vending machine."
Owned and operated by Carvana, the building is located on a busy stretch in South End near the Blue Line Scaleybark light rail station. While some officials have expressed concern about having a giant vending machine that sells cars in the midst of a rapidly changing transit and pedestrian corridor, supporters say its footprint is much smaller than a traditional car dealership.
"Our mission is to change the way people buy cars, and our car vending machines bring fun back into car buying," said Carvana founder and CEO Ernie Garcia. The Charlotte machine holds up to 32 cars at a time.
Here's how it works (And it doesn't involve feeding thousands of quarters into a coin slot).
Customers start at Carvana's website, where they can buy a car online and choose to have it delivered or to pick it up at the vending machine. If they choose the latter, they go to the vending machine site, where they receive a "commemorative, oversized Carvana coin" that activates the machine and transports it down from the tower to a ground-floor delivery bay.