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Car ‘vending machines’ taking off

A SPECTACULAR new high-rise in Singapore stores exotic and luxury cars for their well-heeld owners, while also providing a larger than life showcase of in-stock vehicles for the dealership that developed the building and its sophisticated network of lifts and moving platforms.

Standing 15 stories high, the Automotive Inventory Management System (AIMS) helps make the most of limited and expensive Singaporean real estate and, particularly when brightly illuminated at night, creates a spectacular landmark. It is owned and run by Autobahn Motors, a used car dealership specialising in sought-after classic and coveted high-end vehicles.

Smaller, but similarly impressive for pioneering the vehicular vending concept at dealership level is Carvana in the United States, which launched this novelty car collection system in 2013 at a site in Atlanta, Georgia. Two years later the company opened a second, fully glazed tower version in Nashville, Tennessee.

But let’s not forget the Volkswagen Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany that started it all back in 2000. Two cylindrical towers each capable of holding 400 cars (20 on each of the 20 storeys) are equipped with robotic arms that shuffle the cars from a tunnel at the end of the production line to their holding chamber before moving them to the ground floor to provide a memorable way for customers to collect their brand new VW. At a rate of 500 per day on average!

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