The Citroën Ami wanted to be the most popular electric. But probably not as much: victim of its own success, the city car is experiencing annoying delays in deliveries, the reason for which could not be what we believe.
With the Citroën Ami, the Chevron brand wanted to redo the coup of the true Friends of the 70s. Even that of the 2CV, by putting on the market a car with just what is needed to offer itself to as many people as possible. A risky bet against its illustrious predecessors, but the Citroën Ami would now be just as much a victim of its success.
With its specificities, its controlled selling price and its new sales channels for the manufacturer, the city car is relatively popular, as evidenced by the more than 2,400 units already registered by the brand. However, Citroën struggles to meet its delivery deadlines, pushing buyers to raise the tone.
And for good reason: many customers, who ordered from the early days of the Citroën Ami on the market, have not heard from their car. If the gray cards arrived by post on time, the Friends are struggling to show the tip of their muzzle and some copies, initially planned for delivery in August for example, are still not delivered on time. current. Feeling helpless and lacking in information, customers began to speak up on social media. In particular Sabine, who created the Citroën Ami Facebook page: delivery problems & others, who has not heard from her city chip since October 06, the day after the initially scheduled delivery date.
The Covid, mother of all evils
Contacted by our colleagues from Argus or Automobile Magazine, the brand aux Chevrons indicated that these delivery delays, which can be up to 10 weeks late according to customers, are to be attributed to the global health situation but also in Kenitra, the city where the vehicle is manufactured, which is one of the most affected municipalities in Morocco. The various periods of confinement would lead to a drastic slowdown in production at the PSA plant, which has an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles (including 18,000 copies for the Ami). The various generalist suppliers, with production capacities capable of covering the Ami volume, would also be affected by the same health issue. As a result of a snowball effect, delivery times would therefore be drastically extended.
All in all, these explanations are legitimate and perfectly understandable, even if they have not been communicated to customers left in doubt. Citroën has since said that everything should be sorted out quickly as the problem was being resolved.
The problem ? Which problems) ?
Something promised, something due: for the past few days, some future owners have indicated that they have obtained a delivery date for their Citroën Ami. An unblocking of the situation, while the health situation in Morocco is becoming disastrous. A paradoxical situation for a production unit located in one of the country’s active centers. As the health problem had not been resolved, it did not take more to see any semblance of an answer emerge.
According to some observers and some customers already delivered, the Citroën Ami would not be exempt from some problems. These include faulty locks, doors that no longer close due to a build-up of dirt, random demisting or a few leaks in rainy weather. There is also a problem with the handbrake, poor harness attachment and a planned replacement of the rear drum brake system. Even more problematic, some customers have encountered anomalies with the on-board charger after only a few hundred kilometers on the odometer.
That is to say many flaws of youth which, for the most part, are already the subject of a recall by the manufacturer. The faulty on-board charger would even have been replaced by one from another supplier, as one of our readers noted, who was affected not without difficulty by these technical issues.
In all of these cases, handling the Citroën Ami proved to be particularly complex. At issue: a stammering network with only a handful of centers authorized to repair electricity without a license. Also, other copies have been confined to Citroën garages for many weeks because of the difficulty the brand is encountering in obtaining spare parts of all kinds.
Faced with these numerous complications, it seems that Citroën has decided to make some corrections before the delivery of the Ami. This, in addition to the health situation, would partly explain the reasons for this delay in ignition for the launch of the electric car, so as not to face a situation that could be out of control for the after-sales service.
The impotence of the port of Le Havre
But these theories revolving around production in Kenitra are wrong. Proof of this is with the gray card sent to waiting customers. A document whose chassis number indicates that the car was indeed manufactured and whose date of 1st registration betrays, as in the vast majority of cases, the presence of the car in France. And it is on the side of the port of Le Havre that we should look for the answer, in the parking lot of the GEFCO company.
According to a visibly knowledgeable internet user who spoke on social networks, the transport company (created in 1949 by PSA and currently 25% owned by the French group) takes care of the entire logistics chain, since the transport of cars from Tangier in Morocco, to their distribution, including preparation once they have arrived in France. According to this same source, GEFCO would be in charge of carrying out several operations on Citroën Ami before their distribution in France with, jumble, the installation of accessories, the recharging of the battery, an electronic diagnosis, the installation of the plates. registration, homologation as well as aesthetic and mechanical preparation. But the company would also take care of correcting the defects found in the city car before delivery.
Still according to the user, it is the company’s teams that would take care of all these operations. But GEFCO is said to have reduced its workforce by putting many employees on short-time working, without anticipating the massive arrival of Citroën Ami from Morocco. More surprisingly, this company would have carried out internal plans to take advantage of government aid, while the assembly lines of manufacturers are in full swing, as indicated in an article by the National Union of Transport and Transit Activities!
At the same time, the transport company was the victim of a cyber attack at the end of September, as Citroën confirmed to us, which led to a very sharp drop in activity for more than a week. On top of that, it would seem that GEFCO, like all logistics companies working in the port, operates at the pace imposed by the configuration of the French port on the one hand, but also and above all at the pace of the local CGT, as underlined Capital in his article published last September, whose days of strike would not have improved the situation.
Would all these elements have a cause and effect relationship with the Friend? Contacted by us, the GEFCO Le Havre – Marais company did not wish to comment on these various subjects, which could, according to the first factual elements, hide valuable answers for customers waiting. However, the freight forwarder would have mobilized his teams since the beginning of the month to speed up the pace and get the cars out of the port. This would then explain the increase in staff on Citroën platforms, which are currently contacting customers to communicate a delivery date.
The end of the ordeal?
This outcome marks the end of an ordeal for the vast majority of customers who, like Sabine, would have been harmed by this delay in deliveries. Because by presenting itself as an object of mobility without a license, the Citroën Ami has won over a handful of people who do not have pink paper, wanting to have a simple and economical car for their daily journeys. Consequence: the latter therefore had to return to their old habits to travel by public transport, especially in a reconfined France.
In addition to its success, the Citroën Ami is the victim of a sad domino effect which has particularly affected the logistics part. The health crisis is therefore only the tip of the iceberg faced by waiting customers. But as things get sorted out and despite Citroën’s promises, some still find it difficult.
Gathered around a Facebook group, buyers realize that the arrival of Friends does not necessarily take place in the chronological order of orders. In addition, future owners who have opted for a My Ami Care contract (from € 10.80 for 1 year to € 594 for 5 years) have not yet had any answers regarding possible compensation. Because as Sabine indicates, the insurance is effective from the 1st date of entry into service indicated on the registration document. Or, in his case, dated October 06, 2020 (the day after the initial delivery date), when the car has still not been delivered to date.
So much damage that the offer made by Citroën, which provides for € 100 in vouchers in the Lifestyle store for customers who have received a gray card without a delivery date, will not be able to offset. And who also fails to excuse the deafening silence of the brand on the reasons for this delay during the countless calls from worried customers.
Finally, the Citroën Ami managed to evoke the 2CV in the heads of nostalgic people where we did not expect it: with orders that exceeded the manufacturer’s capacities in a difficult context (Citroën had to face a shortage of steel to aftermath of the Second World War). At the time, delivery times for the popular deudeuche could reach five years!