Fiat Chrysler seeks to block US sales of Mahindra 'Jeep'

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Files Complaint Against Mahindra for Infringement

Mahindra, whose auto business began 70 years ago with a license to build Willys vehicles for Asia, has their presence in several industries in U.S., including information technology and mobility.

Jeep parent company Fiat Chrysler is seeking to block India's Mahindra from selling the ROXOR 4x4 in the U.S., Bloomberg reports, arguing that the vehicle looks too much like its own Jeep Wrangler. The grievance specifically cited the Roxor's "boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood" among the many similarities, according to Automotive News.

"They are a almost identical copy of the iconic Jeep design", Fiat Chrysler said in its complaint, according to Bloomberg. "In fact, the accused product was 'modeled after the original Willys Jeep.'" Mahindra claims to be India's largest SUV manufacturer, and in 2017 opened a headquarters in Southeast Michigan to cater to the North American market.

"Our actions, products, and product distribution (including Roxor) both honor the legacy of the relationship and the terms of our agreements with FCA", said Rich Ansell, a spokesman for Mahindra's North American unit. "Nor did any of these past agreements grant any rights to manufacture, sell, or advertise vehicles, such as the Accused Products, incorporating the Jeep IP in the United States", FCA had said it is filing with the USA authorities.

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.

Instead it has a Euro 6 2.5-litrre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, five-speed manual transmission and two-speed transfer case, plus a stainless steel body on a boxed-steel ladder frame with leaf springs at both ends. Mahindra has a historic relationship and agreements with FCA and its predecessors that go back 70 years. And none of those contracts at any time granted Mahindra India (or any other Mahindra entity) ownership rights over Jeep brand-related intellectual property.

Mahindra plans to invest about US$600 million (RM2.4 billion) in November for its Roxor manufacturing facility. The trucks can be found at off-road vehicle dealers with prices starting around $15,000.

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