Stellantis seems to have found a vein where he least expected it: the Citroën AMI. The small electric vehicle of the French (it cannot be called a car) is giving such good results that they have announced the Fiat Topolino, a small tribute to the Fiat 500 that was sold between 1936 and 1955.
Fiat Topolino. Manufactured for 19 years, the Fiat 500 was also known as the Topolino, a small vehicle that fell in love with its aesthetics and simplicity. This jewel also had a convertible roof that made it perfect for enjoying a walk in good weather.
But the best thing about the Topolino was its simplicity. As explained in Motor 1, he used curious solutions, such as “two crossbars drilled to a rear suspension with half a crossbow that came out of the crossbars themselves.”
The most basic of the basics. They explain in the digital medium that where the charm of the car really resided was in its engine: “To reduce costs as much as possible, Giacosa eliminated all the components that could be replaced by “natural” solutions. Thus, he designed an engine with splash lubrication ( the crankshaft and other devices lubricated by themselves, with their own movement) and a very basic oil pump, while completely dispensing with pumps in the cooling and fuel circuits”.
Even the gasoline supply could be regulated from the inside, as it had a gravity-based system. A faucet could be turned on or off from the dashboard, the place where the small 21-liter tank that he used to move was located. Ingenious solutions had to be found to reduce the car to just 3.2 meters that it measured despite its four seats.
And yet, once the 13 CV of the Fiat Topolino was released, they managed to propel this tiny vehicle up to a maximum speed of 80 km/h. In its rebirth, curiously, the new Topolino will not be able to go over 45 km/h.
The Renaissance. Actually, the new Fiat Topolino is neither a Fiat nor is it a car. It is a Citroën AMI and therefore an L6e category vehicle. Or, what is the same, a light quadricycle. For this reason, it cannot go over 45 km/h nor can it travel on highways or motorways.
In exchange, it is possible to drive a vehicle of this type from the age of 15, with an AM license. A vehicle that has a range of 75 kilometers thanks to its 5.5 kWh batteries, which includes a household socket at the door for charging and is barely 2.41 meters long, making it ideal for parking anywhere.
simplicity returns. It makes sense that Fiat has opted for the Topolino name for its own reinterpretation of the Citroën AMI. The small electric car of the French has been sold as a perfect solution for those who need an electric car exclusively for the city and prefer to eliminate everything completely accessory.
So much so that Citroën chose to give the driver’s mobile phone the value of an infotainment system: a small button to place where it best suits us is quick access to it. A solution as simple as it is effective and that manages to constrain AMI prices.
The example of the My AMI Buggy. A little over a year ago, Citroën summoned us to meet in person the Citroën My AMI Buggy, a very country version that at that time was only a prototype and which, according to the company’s workers, had requested that it be carried out, because they were confident that it could sell a lot. In less than three months, in Spain they had already placed more than 500 AMI units.
And at the end of 2022, the country edition became official. The small electric “car” had become a success for Citroën, which also saw how it could sell the same product more expensive at very low costs. The Citroën AMI is so simple that the front and rear are twins (only the color of the headlights changes). The same as its doors. This is why one opens forward and the other backwards.
A whole complement. Once its good performance has been verified, for Stellantis it has been as simple as rebranding the car in the name of Fiat, putting more refined details on it and selling it with an aesthetic reminiscent of the fifties. Personally (and at the cost of receiving hate) I love it aesthetically, with its pastel tones, its roll-top, two-tone details and closed hubcaps.
It’s the perfect product to sell as a chic item to wealthy clients. From Citroën they did not hide from us that a large part of their buyers were older people, with money and who used their AMI to move around an environment very close to their home. An urbanization, go down to a nearby beach…
a lot of sense. For all these reasons, Stellantis’ movement is really smart. Fiat has been playing for years to recover the Dolce Vita aesthetic, that idealized Rome of Vespas and women with headscarves from the 50s. A context that Fiat has been taking advantage of for years.
In addition, as with the Fiat 500, the Topolino lends itself to receiving numerous special editions at very little cost to the manufacturer but with the ability to be sold at a higher price. Gucci, Armani, Bulgari or Kartell are just a few examples. And the industry has long known about the benefits of selling these special editions.
For now, we will have to wait until April 2024 for its commercialization
In Xataka | Buying a car is increasingly a matter of the rich. And the electric car is only going to make it worse
Photos | Fiat