Used Car Vending Machine Germinates in Former Big Tex Nursery Lot

Carvana, 10939 Katy Fwy., Memorial, Houston, 77079

The frame of the octagon-footed tower now rising at 10939 Katy Fwy. suggests that Carvana’s first Houston used vehicle vending machine may be a few stories taller than the 5-story Nashville machine that opened last year (the one featured dispensing a car in the mostly-online company’s noisy promotional video). Reader Tyler Battenfield sends the rainy day update above, showing the tower rising in place next to a more down-to-earth part of the structure, as shown in the construction plan preview that made its way to Swamplot back in early March:


Carvana Vending Machine construction plans, 10939 Katy Fwy., Memorial, Houston, 77079

Photos: Tyler Battenfield (top), Swamplot inbox (bottom)

Katy Fwy. Auto Auto Dealership

8 Comment

  • Do I shake the crap out of it if a car gets hung up?

  • I was wondering what that strange framing was for, now makes sense. Although I’m skeptical about the busienss model of the place since very similar ones charge way above blue book value for high mileage, questionable history vehicles. Evidently millennials don’t like to haggle.

  • Is the land along the Katy Freeway now so dear that even car dealers have to go vertical? Hard to imagine.

  • Who buys a used car without a test drive and an inspection by a reliable mechanic?

  • Weird gimmick.

  • This may be the future for used vehicle dealers (save and except the vending machine gimmick). Companies like Carvana and Vroom are crashing into the used vehicle market (pun intended) with an online only sales experience. The cars they sell are “certified” and come with a seven day “no questions asked” return policy. They save tons of money by not having to have a big dealership filled with commission sales staff. And they pass on a tiny fraction of the savings to you the consumer.
    The bigger question is whether US franchised dealers will ever go small. In Europe, high end manufacturers now have a “virtual showroom” with a virtual reality car that you can test drive without ever hitting the road. US dealers waste millions every year with giant dealerships that occupy expensive real estate to mostly store cars. This could change substantially if the online experience catches on.

  • I doubt I could buy a car this way, but then I’m an old fart now. However, I like the idea of vertical storage of the vehicles rather than a flat sea of them as is standard right now. I know Houston is not lacking for space, but we could be more thoughtful on how we use it.

  • The cynical part of me is asking what type of business will want occupy such a unique building once this fad ends and Carvana closes. Anyone remember when AutoNation just sold used cars? The Mercedes-Benz dealer on the North Fwy @ 1960 was originally build for use as an AutoNation is one example.