Making the most of Donald Trump's sentiments in the ongoing trade war, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), owner of the Jeep brand brand has filed a complaint against Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra that recently started the sales of Mahindra Roxor off-roader in the United States of America through its subsidiary Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA). FCA's complaint seeks to prevent the sales of Mahindra Roxor that looks like the iconic Jeep.
As per the complaint registered at the U.S. International Trade Commission, FCA claims that the Roxor off-roader infringes some of the design elements from the Jeep brand, including the “boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood.” Fiat Chrysler alleges that Roxor's design is a near identical copy of the iconic Jeep design and has produced the photos comparing the Jeep and the Roxor. "In fact, the accused product was modelled after the original Willys Jeep," added FCA.
Mahindra ventured into the U.S market in 2017 with an investment of $230 million and has already created over 250 jobs in Detroit. MANA's plant in Detroit assembles the Roxor SUV that is sold at $15,000 but is not a road legal SUV and is a true off-roader. It shares it underpins with the Mahindra Thar but hosts nor door or a hardtop roof. Fiat says that Roxor imports threaten the company with substantial injury as they are underselling Jeeps. Mahindra also has an added advantage of the costs involved in manufacturing as it is only assembled at the Detroit plant.
By 2020, Mahindra has planned additional projects in America with more $600 million investment and to triple its workforce at MANA. Mahindra Roxor SUV is sold through Powersport dealers in the USA and through established Mahindra’s tractor dealerships. Fiat Chrysler’s complaint pointed to Mahindra’s “substantial foreign manufacturing capacity combined with its demonstrated intention to penetrate the United States market and harm FCA’s goodwill and business.”
More details on this case are awaited and the case is being overlooked by U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).
-With inputs from Bloomberg