Citroën lit up the Web by announcing the arrival of a small series version of the Ami Buggy. The 50 copies planned were all sold in a canon time. But not everything went as planned. Testimony.
The outdatedness of popular cars no longer kills, especially since some unloved ones are making headlines on classifieds sites: the Citroën BX, Renault 14, Porsche 924 or even the Fiat Multipla are seeing their popularity skyrocket. And therefore also their price on the second-hand market. To appear on board one of these dream machines is now assumed and rented. First mocked, the Citroen Ami already taking advantage of this fad. Not exactly beautiful, devoid of any technique, it quickly became a cool and trendy object to have in your garage. Success is all relative, the Friend being a car without a licence. But the results are precisely encouraging, for a car that, as a general rule, is at the very bottom of the scale of automotive charisma.
The Bugatti Chiron does not do better
Proof of this exacerbated modesty assumed, Citroën has launched a communication campaign not without self-mockery. Yes, the Friend has nothing for her. And that’s why it’s brilliant, as the BX and Multipla were before it (the masses won’t discover the genius of these cars until it’s too late). Without fear, the Double Chevron brand has gone further by presenting My Friend Buggy which, against all expectations, had a series version. At least in small series, Citroën to do like the big ones by limiting production to 50 copies onlyt. Enough to make the Ami Buggy a machine just as exclusive as a Bugatti Chiron, at the other end of the car market and the French car market. Cock-a-doodle Doo !
The crowing of the rooster also resounds in the corridors of Rueil-Malmaison. At the end of an orchestrated online sale, Citroën welcomed the enthusiasm for its new beach star. With such a limited print run, congratulating oneself on a shortage of stock can seem capillotracted. But the results are there, especially for a city chip sold at a higher price of around 32.47%. It’s almost the difference in price between an entry-level Bugatti Chiron and the super-powerful Super Sport. Especially since the sale was expedited: the brand indicates that the entire production found a buyer in 17 minutes and 28 seconds. L’Ami blushes, it’s her first time with which she can brag. Nearly three copies per minute? Molsheim in a dream.
Just like this customer, who was the fastest to draw his credit card on the Internet by completing the entire purchase process in 2’53. But why does Citroën find it so important to note the performance of customers, through a “journey” of purchase? Titillated by this information, we did not take long to understand that it was in fact an obstacle course to leave with a copy. This is what Christophe* told us (his first name has been changed, as they say in the major investigative newspapers).
Obvious false starts
We are June 21, late morning. The sun is beating down and the heat wave is at its strongest. But it’s not so much the exceptional weather that makes this potential Citroën customer hot and sweaty. Eyes riveted on the clock on his screen, the mouse in his clammy right hand, the credit card in his left hand, he is ready to draw to leave with an Ami Buggy. An object of mobility with which he dreams of freshness, letting his lush hair live its best life on the edge of the beaches, continuing to ignore his 31,000 pending emails. It’s time, but nothing goes as planned.
From the start of the sale, the site of the French brand experienced damage. It is therefore impossible to register in due form to access the dedicated platform. Not letting it go, the client decides to take another path: “You could put the car in the basket. But by being skilful since it was through the configurator that I was able to do it », specifies the customer. Glimmer of hope, the procedure works, but an error message appears immediately. It is 12:12 p.m., time is running out (see the screenshots made at this time).
At 12:13 p.m., Christophe decides to contact the hotline by telephone for assistance or to try another method to leave with a copy. But faced with high demand and apparent IT instability, customer service looks overwhelmed: “I called the hotline at 12:13 p.m., and they answered at 12:19 p.m. to tell me that everything was sold”. A long wait that ends in a blow: move around, the courtyard is empty. Sadness!
Citroën’s precision on the performance of its fastest customer makes sense, as a very large number of them, like Christophe, were probably unable to order a copy for a sad computer failure. Also, it appears that these 17 minutes of sale correspond more to the time that the 50th customer had to spend before validating his order. This also means that if all the systems had kept their heads above water, Citroën could have sold its 50 Ami Buggy more quickly.
No Citroën Ami Buggy for Elon Musk either
So what happened at Citroën? No one will really know. But it would seem that the first to be served were able to connect to the platform before. False starts, therefore, which led to dissatisfaction. Admittedly, there weren’t going to be only satisfied people in this kind of sale, where the supply is much lower than the demand. This is also one of the strategies of Ferrari and other exceptional manufacturers with their multitude of special series: according to them, the frustration of customers left behind will push them to be the first to leave for the next sale. But Citroën is not Ferrari, and the frustration of a computer failure with an exclusively online sale will not push Christophe to rush to a next draw.
Especially since mistrust now reigns for this customer who wanted to buy a conventional Citroën Ami, but whose delivery time of seven months proved to be far too long. Initially, the press release announced deliveries from August 8th. Just in time to enjoy it during the summer holidays. But the configurator indicated delivery dates for the month of September. At least in theory, the Citroën Ami not being not reputed to meet delivery deadlines. As such, let us specify that the French brand could attract the wrath of customers who do not have the budget to afford a Buggy with limited versatility (the Friend, a luxury product?): this limited series would not put therefore only two months to arrive in the hands of the 50 customers, against five months more for the others!
Finally, while the chevron brand was proud to indicate “VIP home deliveries” (without specifying whether or not the operation is free), the brand quickly changed its catchphrases. The configurator displayed “delivery not included” under the price summary, whereas a prior announcement presented the clause “home delivery not included” here again.
In any case, there is a serious difference between the self-proclaimed post-sale press release and the reality on the ground according to this client’s documented testimony. Very quickly, Citroën hastened to launch an advertising campaign on paper media please (not everyone has the budget to afford a campaign for a car that is no longer for sale), where you could read “Sorry Elon, there’s at least one thing you can’t afford”. Indeed, even if he wanted to, he could not have bought the Citroën Ami Buggy online in the face of perfectible IT and customer support…