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Auto Trader vending machine exploits car buyers' haggling hang-ups

Auto Trader's Spitalfields contactless car vending machine

Auto Trader has sought to highlight the haggling hang-ups of UK car buyers with the launch of what it claims is “Britain’s first contactless car vending machine”.

The installation of the glass-sided device – containing a single Renault Zoe EV provided by Lookers – in London’s Spitalfields Market was designed specifically to illustrate its unique pre-haggled prices and transparent price offering.

An Auto Trader survey of 2,000 British motorists recently found that over nine-in-10 Brits (92%) admitted they are bad at haggling over a car purchase and that 89% find the process both embarrassing and uncomfortable.

According to Auto Trader, haggling on prices (41%) topped respondents’ list of anxieties about buying a car, along with hidden costs (39%), worrying about making the wrong decision (28%) and having to wait a long time to receive a car after buying it (25%).

Commenting on the creation of the contactless car vending machine as a marketing tool to highlight the issue, an Auto Trader spokesperson said: “Buying a brand-new car is an exciting experience, but it can often be tarnished by anxiety around haggling and knowing whether you’re looking at the right price.

“So today we’re showcasing a real-life version on what can be found on Auto Trader; brand new cars at transparent pre-haggled prices that you can drive away today.

“The only difference is that this Renault Zoe can be purchased at the touch of a card, testing London car buyers’ appetite for electric cars as well as a more instant purchasing future.”

Auto Trader’s single-car car vending machine is a long way from the multi-storey concepts unveiled by online retail specialist Alibaba – in partnership with Ford – in China, or by Carvana in the US.

It does work on the same principal, however, and allows purchases of up to £21,000, showcasing how consumers can “buy and go” without having to worry about any haggling on the price.

A team of six engineers spent three months designing and building the contactless car dispenser.

The custom-made point of sale system and key release function was created, alongside an integrated payment and door release mechanic, Auto Trader said.

Its price of £16,000 (RRP of £22,470) has already been agreed with Lookers, meaning drivers don’t need to worry about trying to get the best price themselves.

Auto Trader said that the Zoe EV was selected to be featured in the device as it is one of the most searched for electric cars in the country.

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