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06 August 2018, 03:44 | Kelvin Horton
FCA says the Roxor shown has key Jeep characteristics such as a boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides
Jeep, now owned by the Marchionne-built Fiat-Chrysler empire, has now entered the Indian auto market and the decades-old license has begun becoming a matter of contention.
The Mahindra Roxor, a two-seat all-terrain vehicle with retro Jeep styling, isn't permitted for use on USA roads, and is instead classed as a Utility Task Vehicle.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has attempted to block Indian auto maker Mahindra from importing its Roxor SUV to the United States, claiming that it copies the design of the original Willys Jeep. The compliant filed on August 1 at US International Trade Commission claims Roxor to have violated key elements of Jeep such as the boxy body structure with flat vertical sides and rear body ending with the same height as the bonnet.
The complaint, which included photos comparing the Roxor to the Jeep, added: "They are a almost identical copy of the iconic Jeep design. In fact, the accused product was "modelled after the original Willys Jeep", FCA said in its complaint, adding that Roxor imports into the United States threatened it with "substantial injury" as Mahindra was undercutting Jeeps on price.
FCA says that Mahindra manufactures the SUV at a lower price in India, and sells it in the U.S. market. "Mahindra has been co-existing with FCA (and the Jeep brand) for over 25 years in India and in many other countries", added M&M.
The 1377kg Mahindra Roxor measures just 3759mm long and 1574mm wide - 480mm shorter and 303mm narrower than the smallest, two-door Wrangler and more like a Suzuki Jimny. Mahindra claims that FCA's case to ban the Roxor's import into the USA is without any merit as the SUV has been derived from Mahindra vehicles sold in markets, where FCA's own automobiles are sold. Based on the same steel frame construction as the Thar, the Roxor competes against Kawasaki Mule Pro and Polaris RZR ATV. And none of those contracts at any time granted Mahindra India (or any other Mahindra entity) ownership rights over Jeep brand-related intellectual property.
In 2017, Mumbai-based Mahindra, which claims to be India's largest sport utility vehicle manufacturer, opened headquarters in Southeast Michigan for its newly developed North American branch. While the Roxor is not a road legal vehicle, FCA is concerned about the former's low price. FiatChrysler Automobiles (FCA) is unhappy with Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. over its recently launched Roxor.
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