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China, cars can soon be bought and sold with a click, as part of a deal between Ford and tech titan, Alibaba, signed on Thursday. It's a major retailing experiment that would allow drivers to purchase brand new vehicles without the use of dealerships and banks. Direct sales would be difficult in places like the US, where in many states it's illegal and, more generally, drivers want to try it before they buy.
As Reuters Cate Cadell reports, in China, at least, that attitude may quickly change.>> Lots of Chinese consumers already have experienced using ecommerce, it's very big here, and also Alibaba, the platform they're partnering with, has a history of selling cars online. Users in China highly mobile, they use their mobile phones a lot, they're increasingly becoming accustom to paying for things online and also getting credit online, taking out loans online.
>> Ford sales in China have been loosing momentum in recent months. Sources tell Reuters, the company is hoping a collaboration with Alibaba, and its extents of Internet resources, could help it play catch up.>> One of the big driving forces behind a deal like this, would be that they have a financial platform that does car financing.
So for Alibaba to step in and take over that part, the financing part, is obviously very attractive for them as a company. And for Ford, they obviously wanna be able to work with the company like Alibaba who has a lot of data on consumers in the country>> Ford and Alibaba say they're looking to redefine the retail experience, using new technology from test drive to delivery.
That's apparently includes a so called auto vending machine. Sources say it would be a multi story parking garage, delivering cars directly to buyers on the ground floor.