RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– The online used car retailer Carvana has opened a vending machine on the City of Richmond’s northside.
Residents nearby have been noticing the new, tall building as they drive by the location on Westwood Avenue. Kristin Cobaugh lives in the area with her family and is excited about the new addition.
“We actually just drove past it and we were talking about how cool it looks,” Cobaugh said. “I think it’s great. I think anything that gives people more options is wonderful.”
The Carvana vending machine has launched in the river city after first expanding to the Richmond market in 2016.
Veronica Cardenas is the Senior Public Relations Specialist for Carvana she said, the process took several years.
“We were waiting for the right time and place to really cement our presence in the community,” Cardenas said.
Cardenas said many factors were weighed when choosing a location. The company considered how customers would be serviced, how to get vehicles inside the building and made sure the operation would fit in with the surrounding community.
There were 15-20 Richmond based employees hired. According to Cardenas, there were a lot of interested applicants.
Cars inside the machine have already been financed or purchased online beforehand. Previously on Carvana, you could only get a vehicle delivered to your home. With the vending machine, customers can schedule an appointment to pick up a vehicle at the machine instead. When customers arrive, they receive a coin that they put in a slot and they can watch their car being vended.
This is just an expansion to an industry that has seen a boost in sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A microchip shortage caused a decrease in the manufacturing of new cars during the pandemic. Cardenas told 8News, this created an uptick in used car demand.
“We certainly saw more demand with Carvana especially when the pandemic first hit and a lot of the dealerships closed. People were looking for ways to purchase a vehicle,” Cardenas said.
Carvana created a touchless delivery where customers could still have a vehicle delivered to them without any contact. At one point, people couldn’t go to the dealership to sell their car during the pandemic. The used car retailer saw more people selling their cars online, which allowed them to acquire more cars. This ultimately increased selection of inventory, offering more options.