After 17 years and 1.2 million units sold, Citroen has pulled the plug on the C1 city car. With the Citroen C1 now consigned to the history books, Citroen has confirmed that the C3 is expected to take its place, according to an Autocar report dated January 27, 2022. Although note that the C3 is not a direct replacement for the C1, but rather an option that’s more practical and value for money, with an electric version also on the way.
In its heydays, the Citroen C1 was a successful car with its popularity attributed to its youthful design, convenience and practicality in city driving environments. However, these qualities were not future proof. Citroen said to Autocar that “changes to working patterns, restrictions in cities and need for more space and versatility have required a refocus.”
Citroen Ami Electric could be the alternative for urban drivers
Previously, Citroen VP Vincent Cobee had quoted to Autocar in June 2020, that though the Citroen C1 is a very competitive car, its segment faces many challenges like tough emissions and safety equipment requirements that drive the costs up. However, for those whose driving is limited to the confines of the city, the upcoming Citroen Ami Electric quadricycle could also be an option. Cobee said the Ami is a “partial answer to the similar needs.”
The move was expected by industry experts for a few months. In October 2020, Reuters had reported that Groupe PSA will permanently discontinue the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108, as the shrinking A-segment had turned out to be a loss-making one. The company sold off its stake in the Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile (TPCA) Czech plant that made the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108. Production of these models at the factory, now called Toyota Motor Manufacturing Czech Republic, has ended and now Toyota is using the facility to manufacture its new Aygo X.
A report Automotive News published on 8 January 2022 suggests that Stellantis doesn’t plan to launch new-generation models of the French city cars. The C1’s sales dropped 10% from 2020 (40,598 units) to 36,559 units in 2021. The projected demand and the cost probably made it unfeasible to invest in a lifecycle makeover and continue in the market.
Citroen also said that the new C3 will pack more equipment like LED lights, a bigger boot, five seats and more safety features and still its top model will be more affordable than the range-topping variant of the Citroen C1, according to Autocar. A Citroen e-C3 (Electric) is also in development that is likely to be launched in Europe next year at affordable prices.
At the time of discontinuation, the Citroen C1 started at a price of GBP 12,945 in the UK. Its spiritual replacement, the C3 You! which will be a more modern and bigger overall package will start at GBP 12,995 when it goes on sale in April 2022. The Citroen Ami electric on the other hand is expected to be priced in the region of GBP 6,000.
A-Segment cars in Europe
A-segment cars are facing extinction in Europe because of the European Union’s new CO2 requirements. These are not only the toughest in the world but many feel that the new emission requirements put undue pressure on A-segment cars. Auto executives are of the opinion that new requirements will push the companies to forego IC engine versions of city cars and replace them with fully-electric cars. However, electric technology in small cars at this time will drive up the cost due to the expensive battery and make them inaccessible to most of the target audience.
While players like Ford, Skoda, and Suzuki have vacated this segment recently, here could be where models like the Dacia Spring and the Ami offer alternate solutions. The electric two-seater was launched in 2020 in long-term rent, car-sharing, and in-cash options, giving buyers of different categories an option to use the vehicle. The Ami can be rented at 0.26 Euro per minute through car-sharing and for long-term rental it costs only 19.99 Euros per month after a down payment of 2,644 Euros initially. The car can also be bought fully in cash for 6,000 Euros in France.
Featured Image: A Compendium made from press images released by Citroen