The ongoing rift between Indian UV manufacturer Mahindra and Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) over the sale of Roxor off-roader with FCA claiming that it infringes some of the design elements from the Jeep brand is 'without any merit' says Mahindra & Mahindra. Mahindra Roxor off-roader is not a road-legal vehicle in America and is sold only for off-roading purposes. It shares its underpins with the Mahindra Thar. Mahindra Roxor is being assembled by Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) that has seen the Indian automaker investing $230 million and creating about 250 jobs in Detroit for starters.
As per Fiat Chrysler Automobile, Mahindra made Roxor infringes the design elements from the Jeep brand and accusing to be modelled after the original Willys Jeep. Now, Mahindra and Fiat Chrysler's relation goes back 70 years and Mahindra in 1940's had signed a mutual agreement with FCA's predecessors Willys that continues even today.
Mahindra says that its actions, products including Roxor off-roader, and product distribution honour the legacy of the relationship and the terms of our agreements with FCA. "Mahindra has been co-existing with FCA (and the Jeep brand) for over 25 years in India and in many other countries." the company said.
Mahindra further said that "we have reviewed FCA’s core filing and find it to be without merit. "Mahindra Roxor is a derivative of Mahindra vehicles distributed in those markets. "Based on these agreements between the two company's and the history between the two, Mahindra believe that FCA’s claims are baseless and Mahindra is well within its rights to both manufacture and distribute the Roxor off-road vehicle." MANA's plant in Detroit assembles the Roxor SUV that is sold at $15,000, it is being sold and marketed through PowerSport dealers in America along with Mahindra's established tractor dealerships.
Fiat Chrysler’s complaint registered at the U.S. International Trade Commission further says that “substantial foreign manufacturing capacity combined with its demonstrated intention to penetrate the United States market and harm FCA’s goodwill and business.” This is also not the first time FCA has dragged an automaker over Jeep's design issue. In early 2002, then- Daimler-Chrysler took General Motors to the U.S Circuit court of appeals over the grille design on the Hummer H2 that was similar on the Jeep SUVs as both had secen vertical slots. However, the three-judge panel ruled it against Daimler Chrysler as it could not prove it had"family of marks" associated with the Jeep brand.
This case is currently being overseen by U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington) and more details on this are awaited.