Feb 22, 2023 - News

New Carvana vending machine becomes Denver reality

The Carvana car vending machine in Denver on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios

The eight-story tower gracing the southeast Denver skyline stands alone: It's the state's first car vending machine.

Driving the news: Carvana, the online used car sales company, opened its first car vending machine in Colorado today, near Evans Avenue and I-25 in Denver.

  • It can fit up to 27 cars, though vending machine specialist Travis Dean tells Axios Denver most modern pickup trucks are too large to fit inside.

How it works: You can't just walk up and buy a car like you can a bag of chips in a normal vending machine.

  • You have to make your purchase online, and once that's done, you'll get a token to slide into the coin slot inside the building's glass lobby.
  • This starts a show complete with lights and sound effects, finishing with a car lowered to the first floor.
  • Dean estimates it will take the average customer about 15 minutes between signing paperwork and getting their car once they arrive.
Carvana vending machine specialist Travis Dean holds up a token used to get cars from Carvana's car vending machines. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios

Why it matters: Speculation over whether the vending machine would even open due to Carvana's financial troubles can be put to bed.

  • But now that it's here, it has some people musing about trading in Denver's iconic views of nature for a modern invention.

What they're saying: "There it sits, blocking my mountain views," Elyse Morris, who owns the Dirty Duck Bar next door, told 9News last month.

  • Denver City Council members shared concerns when approving a rezoning for the site in March 2021, saying some kind of housing complex — which would be allowed under the new zoning — would be a better fit for a site near an RTD light rail station.

By the numbers: The company has sold about 30,000 cars in Colorado since it started sales locally in 2018, Head of External Communications and Government Affairs Alan Hoffman tells Axios Denver. The sales were online only.

  • Carvana's stock fell by as much as 98% last year, but it has since rebounded.
  • The company has sold more than 2 million cars nationally over the past 10 years.

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