“Boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood” are Jeep hallmarks, said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ complaint

Indian car maker Mahindra has pushed back against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)'s recent attempt to block Mahindra from importing the Roxor SUV to the US, claiming that FCA's complaint is "without merit".

FCA recently attempted to block Mahindra from importing the Roxor to the US, claiming that it copies the design of the original Willys Jeep

The Mahindra Roxor, a two-seat all-terrain vehicle with retro Jeep styling, isn’t permitted for use on US roads, and is instead classed as a Utility Task Vehicle. 

Mahindra claims that it reached a deal with FCA in 2009, that FCA would not take any action against Mahindra for the Roxor if the Indian brand used an FCA-approved grille for the car. "The Roxor uses that grille," Mahindra said. "We are also arguing that Fiat is using the case to harm our Roxor business by creating negative publicity, damaging our reputation and our stature in the marketplace."

"The Roxor is a vehicle that was always intended only as an off-road vehicle, does not compete with Fiat vehicles, is manufactured and assembled in the first OEM plant to be built in Michigan, USA, in the last 25 years, was the result of more than three years of research and development, and categorically rejected the notion that the Roxor was an imported low quality “knock-off” kit car."

Bloomberg reports that FCA's complaint to the US International Trade Commission alleges that the Roxor infringes upon Jeep’s “boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood”, and that the Indian brand’s selling of the Roxor in the US infringes on key characteristics of its cars. 

“They are a nearly identical copy of the iconic Jeep design; in fact, the accused product was ‘modelled after the original Willys Jeep'." The 1377kg, 3759mm long, 1574mm wide Roxor is 480mm shorter and 303mm narrower than the smallest, two-door Wrangler and is nearer the size of the Suzuki Jimny.

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The Roxor uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder diesel engine producing 62bhp and 144lb ft of torque - 63lb ft more than the current Jimny. These give the Roxor a top speed of 45mph. 

The Roxor is priced from $14,999 (around £11,500) in the US - around half of what Jeep charges for the entry-level Wrangler. FCA cited Mahindra’s “substantial foreign manufacturing capacity, combined with its demonstrated intention to penetrate the US market and harm FCA’s goodwill and business”, as a reason for the complaint. 

A Mahindra spokesman has been contacted for comment. 

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Comments
12

3 August 2018

 About time plagiarism in the Motor industry was sorted out, too many almost like Vehicles especially in China....

Peter Cavellini.

3 August 2018

For me its the design of the bonnet that most closely echos the Willy's Jeep. I can't see this achieving significant sales in the US though; it can't be used on the road and has a diesel engine. There are many alternatives if you need a utility vehicle.

3 August 2018

 I had a Friend who had one as Garage Vehicle, was stolen from his Garage and was found in ...Poland!!!, so I guess they have some value there?

Peter Cavellini.

3 August 2018

During the Second World War did Ford and GM also make similar vehicles based on an Army design? Not sure how well it will stand up

FMS

31 August 2018
TStag wrote:

During the Second World War did Ford and GM also make similar vehicles based on an Army design? Not sure how well it will stand up

This was the case under official licence conditions and with full approval, for the combined war effort, not in any way a comparable situation.

3 August 2018

Jeeps problems might be that the original Jeep was designed by committee and manufactured by both Willy’s and Ford. See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willys_MB

So unlike say the Land Rover Defender which was designed by Land Rover I think Jeep May have a problem proving they have exclusive rights to the design. 

3 August 2018

If every time a car manufacturer made a new car that looks a bit like a competitor's car, legal action was begun to stop it, the entire SUV production around the world, would grind to a halt.

Citroëniste.

3 August 2018

Mahindra always have had a licence to produce the original Jeep in India,indeed they used to sell them in Blighty about twenty five years ago,the ones on sale here were built from CKD kits in Greece. It was powered by a Peugeot diesel engine and the petrol Ford "Pinto" engine was avalable although this wasn't sold in the UK. My wife and I test drove one over Semley Common and it was certainly an invigorating experience with no powered (drums) brakes let alone power steering and having the windscreen folded down certainly improved the ventilatation. To be honest it made the Lada Niva (Cossack) seem like a Range Rover Vogue and I honestly didn't think it'd be great in a British winter but sure was fun to drive. Jeep UK didn't complain as even to the casual observer the then current Wrangler only had the slightest resemblence to it's Indian cousin,but hey this is the Land Of The Free and I'd reckon the only winners in this will be the lawyers

3 August 2018

It is highly likely the US courts will find in favour of FCA because it will protect American jobs.

it doesn't say much for FCA's opinion of the Jeep product to seek protection from Mahindra as a competitor. Probably more to do with extending the priciple of copyright of design beyond what is considered normal in today's market however, at what point does a design become unique. Upright front, slab sided, utilitarian, uncomfortable, rugged etc are too generalised terms to be defendable. Every SUV is high riding, most are ugly, the industry is built on copy cat product.

Just a thought.

4 August 2018
....anyone?

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