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Cheaper than a mobile phone subscription?-subscription

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The Citroën Ami polarizes with its unusual design.

Cheaper than a mobile phone subscription?

Citroën shows the Ami: A handy electric car for urban traffic – and a digital friend for young people

You really can’t blame Citroën for not having the courage to come up with unconventional, original products.

Starting with the 2CV, well-known as the “duck”, to cars like the DS, the Mehari with its plastic body, to the Cactus, where the French introduced the controversial, side plastic panels (“Airbump”) for the first time.

There was also the Ami (French for friend), a mid-size sedan that polarized people as early as 1961 with an unusual rear design with a sloping C-pillar. However, the current cube-shaped electric runabout has nothing in common with this.

Rather, the Ami wants to be an alternative to public transport, two-wheelers and e-scooters and, with its top speed of 45 km/h, is intended purely for inner-city use. According to Citroën, its 5.5kWh battery takes it up to 70 km there. Unlike its two-wheeled competitors, the little Stromer offers more storage space, more protection and – probably most importantly – a roof over your head. Thanks to its compact design, it has a turning circle of just 7.2 metres, which can be a decisive advantage in the city: at 11 metres, a Mercedes A-Class, for example, needs almost a third more space when turning.

In the cockpit, the smartphone becomes an infotainment system

The low top speed also offers the advantage that the little Citroën can also be driven in Switzerland from the age of 16. So the target group is clear: The Ami is for the young, digital generation. This becomes clear when you buy it: In the best Tesla manner, you can configure, order and pay for the Ami entirely on the Internet. You won’t find an infotainment display in the cockpit: Here, the smartphone becomes the central player for navigation and music. A clever step: you save the cost of an expensive infotainment system and enable young customers to use their own, already known and mostly preferred smartphone. Relevant data such as range, charging status, mileage and maintenance information can be displayed on the smartphone using a dedicated app, or charging stations can be found nearby.

Another feature that cars with a young target group must have is a high degree of customizability. This is where it gets interesting: The Ami is only available in one exterior finish, a matt gray, which according to design director Pierre Leclercq should be “neither too feminine nor too masculine”. Nevertheless, there should be no limits to your own creativity: There are four color packages (blue, white, khaki and orange) with which you can customize the color of the rims, the interior and various accents on the body. You can also choose from a wide selection of fender and roof decorations. An optional roof bar or a rear spoiler is available on request, as are the wheel trims. Useful extras such as luggage nets and hooks can be configured in the interior, but the buyer then has to install them himself.

As expensive as a mobile phone contract

Apart from a panoramic roof and heating, however, the Ami does not offer much more equipment. The passenger seat is permanently installed, and if you want to use the full range of the in-house app, you need a separate USB stick from the accessory kit. However, these cost-saving measures lead to a very attractive starting price of €6,000 (approx. CHF 6,383, prices for Switzerland are not yet known). If you make a down payment of €2,644 (approx. CHF 2,813), you can lease the Ami for just €19.99 (approx. CHF 22) per month. Considering the general trend towards monthly subscriptions, this is a very interesting offer that many younger buyers will certainly take advantage of: the car then costs them less per month than some mobile phone contracts. Citroën also announces car-sharing offers. It is not yet known whether and in what form these will come to Switzerland. Here, too, the prices should be significantly lower compared to the competition.

All in all, the Ami is a very interesting concept that seems to be made for the young, digital generation and their needs. It seems that savings have been made in the right places to create an affordable offer for a broad target group whose “common denominator will not be their gender or age, their place of residence and even less their level of education, but their mobility needs”. , said Michel Costa, Market Research Manager at Citroën.

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