Buying cars online has been popular for a while now, on auction sites and through online dealerships, however, Carvana.com has a new and exciting way to do it, in the form of car vending machines.
Ernest (Ernie) Garcia the third, CEO of Carvana, which was founded by his father Ernest Garcia the second, runs a new billion-dollar company selling used cars online, and giving buyers the option of using car vending machines.
You can see by the photo above that it really is a vending machine, complete with a token slot and special tokens you have to put in for your car to be selected and moved down for collection, you even get to keep the token afterwards if you want to. You choose and pay for your car online, and then collect it at the Carvana vending machine closest to you.
Carvana made it to number 5 on Forbes most promising company in 2015 and they have continued to grow and succeed ever since. Ernest Garcia the second (the father) now has a net worth of 5.4 billion USD, due mostly to his majority shares in Carvana.
Carvana.com has over 15,000 vehicles on offer, and also have on-site finance available to help you pay for your new car. You can research which car you want on the website, using simple search parameter options, pay for it online, and then either have it delivered to your home the very next day, or go and pick it up from the vending machine and experience the novelty of vending machine car purchasing, I know if it were me, I would choose to go to the machine, even if it was a bit of a drive to get there, just for the experience. It was a smart business move to include such a novelty, fun way of picking up your car, and doing so has gained them good media attention as well. You can view a video of one of the vending machines being used here to see how it works. Another useful option provided by Carvana is a 7-day ‘test own’ trial period, which will give you a much better feel for the car and the ability to have it checked for any issues, as opposed to just a quick test drive at a dealership or even through a private sale.
The motivation behind Ernie Garcia’s idea was a combination of factors, however, one specific motivator was attending a wholesale auction, where car dealers were purchasing cars to on-sell to customers. They were deciding in less than a minute whether to buy a car or not and were provided with a guarantee that if something was wrong with the car that wasn’t specified before the auction, they could easily return it. Ernie wanted to try and make purchasing cars for the average person simpler and safer and more like it is for car dealers buying cars, we well as making the process a lot faster than the usual hours it took to choose a car and finalise the sale.
Ernie’s father owned (and still owns) a traditional style car sales business called DriveTime, which through working with him there, also gave him a better understanding of what the current difficulties in the industry were. Initially, his dad wasn’t particularly sure about the idea but once it started gaining support and becoming a reality he was very supportive helping him to launch Carvana, which has become a very profitable business for both father and son.
Carvana is able to provide better customer experiences at better prices because they take advantage of the latest technologies. Their business is mostly automated; therefore, they can do a lot more and a lot faster than a traditional car sale yard. There are of course still staff, but because it has been planned and organised so well it runs smoothly, and employees are able to do their jobs without hassle or time wasting.
In an interview with ‘Entrepreneur’ online earlier this year, Ernie (Jr.) gave the following advice (summarised) to those planning on game-changing ideas in their own industries:
- Be aware it’s a ‘long run’ project, are you willing to put 10 or 20 years into ensuring your company and idea succeed?
- Recognise your own weaknesses or areas you may need to bring in other experts to assist you in meeting your goals.
- Know the industry well, consider what needs to change to make it better for everyone: businesses, customers and employees.
- Choose your battles. What are the big things, the most important things you want to change/upgrade? Don’t get hung up on the small things that make little difference.
New business concepts like Carvana inspire others to push for better ideas and new ways to advance within their industries. We can all learn from success stories such as these. The world needs more innovative business people like Ernie Garcia, and more game-changing ideas like Carvana, that shake up and remodel the industry in positive ways.
Carvana.com is currently only available for use in the USA, but with it’s growing success we hope to see it expand into other countries soon.