Autohome (NYSE: ATHM), one of China’s leading used- and new-auto transaction platforms, unveiled its “augmented reality showroom” to the public. The AR Showroom can be found here.
The new project, produced in conjunction with the augmented reality company HiScene, will feature 30 different brands and 60 models. The virtual vehicles can be explored in three dimensions and can be taken on virtual test drives around virtual cities in which users can explore each vehicle’s individual performance in (virtual) acceleration, braking, and fuel consumption. It’s unclear right now to what extent Grand Theft Auto-style pedestrian interactions are permitted.
The AR Showroom was launched in conjunction with a four-part web series featuring four of the stars of the popular anti-corruption TV series “In the Name of People” (Renmin de mingyi), which has been compared to the U.S.-series House of Cards. The series, which aired from June 28 to July 1, featured the actors discussing their favorite cars and automotive memories.
The line-up of actors is an interesting one, skewing away from the young, mega-star figures courted by 58.com-backed Guazi erhsoucheand Souche.com-backed Tangeche.com, it is entirely male, middle-aged and authoritative, indicating where Autohome sees the demographic for an AR showroom to land.
Augmented and virtual reality has become a minor battleground between the oldest names in auto e-commerce in China.
During its annual “6.6” sale event last month, Bitauto (NYSE: BITA) alsoprovided potential customers a 360-degree VR test drive of several leading models (which we reported on here).
Unlike Autohome, however, Bitauto has yet to launch a full roll-out of the VR showroom.