The friend widens the road for cars without a driver’s license

In rural and suburban areas that are poorly served by public transportation, parents quickly get tired of serving as drivers for their offspring. So they end up giving in to scooter extortion despite their fear of accidents. Only option? Pay the price for a car without a driver’s license, much safer than a two-wheeled car. At 9,499 euros from French Aixam, Europe’s leading manufacturer, the cheapest of these two-seater cars is only 1,700 euros less than the most available “real car” at the moment, the Fiat Panda. “So inevitable when the Citroën Ami landed in the spring of 2020 with a price of 6,900 euros (ecological bonus of 900 euros not deducted), the success was immediate,” says Jean-Michel Martins, who distributes cars in Coignières (Yvelines).

Controlled budget

Between 2012 and 2019, an average of 12,000 wagons were registered per year in France. In six months, the market has grown to 15,000 units by 2020, powered by Citroën Ami alone. Then to 22,000 in 2022, including 5,951 registrations to Citroën, which claims a market share of 30% by the end of the first quarter of 2022. Inflation commits, the base price today stands at 7,390 euros. But when the bonus is withdrawn, the Friend returns to 6,490 euros. It is even possible to pay only 3,100 euros by choosing long-term rent: the friend is then offered to you for 48 months for a monthly payment of 19.99 euros.

The promise of a controlled budget, for reassured parents. Historical brands can not adapt, with production costs burdened by lower series. Above all, their models hold a luxury of sophistication that the Citroën does without, stripped to the extreme. Heating, radio, power window and airbag are simply not available on the Ami. And yet, despite the price, it steals few customers from conventional wagons whose sales have doubled since 2017 in Europe.

“These diesel models meet a need that cannot be met by the Electric Friend with its 70-kilometer autonomy,” explains Jean-Michel Martins, some of whom buyers can drive 15,000 to 20,000 kilometers a year. To each clientele. With an average transaction price of € 12,500, Aixam, Ligier, Chatenet and Bellier continue to attract “isolated pensioners and unlicensed working people”.

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