Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is looking to stop Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra from selling a Jeep-like off-road vehicle in the United States, claiming that the “Mahindra Roxor” as it’s called infringes too closely upon the Willys Jeep‘s distinctive appearance. The Mahindra Roxor is “a nearly identical copy of the iconic Jeep design,” FCA said in its US trade complaint. “In fact, the accused product was ‘modeled after the original Willys Jeep.'”
Fiat Chrysler also said in its complaint that the Mahindra Roxor represents a threat as it could undersell FCA’s own Jeep vehicles by a wide margin. Mahindra, which has a US headquarters located in Metro Detroit, builds its products in India, and imports knocked-down kits to the US for local assembly. In that way, the company can take advantage of India’s substantially lower production costs, resulting in a base price of just over $15k.
But despite their visual similarities, the Mahindra Roxor encroaches very little upon FCA’s modern Jeep Wrangler mechanically. The Roxor is a tiny, low-powered recreational vehicle not suitable for daily road use. It measures just 12 feet, 4 inches long; its 2.5-liter turbodiesel I4 peaks at a scant 62 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque; and it has a claimed top speed is 45 miles per hour.
Mahindra & Mahindra is one of the largest automobile producers in India by volume, although its business in North America is quite limited. In November, the company announced plans to invest $600 million into its Southeast Michigan manufacturing plant where the Mahindra Roxor is assembled, tripling its workforce.
As of March, Mahindra had managed to find some 300 dealers across the US to distribute the new Mahindra Roxor.
(Source: Automotive News)