Fiat Chrysler is attempting to block the sale of the Jeep lookalike Mahindra Roxor.
We last reported on Mahindra’s Jeep-inspired Roxor last March when the Indian company announced they’d be bringing the small, underpowered, and inexpensive vehicle to the United States.
In India, where average speeds are much less than they are here, the Roxor is sold as an actual car, but Mahindra knows that a utility vehicle that can’t break 50 mph would never sell as a road-legal vehicle here in the US, so they plan to market it as an ATV.
Take one look at the Roxor and you’ll certainly see the resemblance to Fiat Chrysler’s star performing Jeep Wrangler, but that’s because the two cars share a common ancestor. Back when Jeep was owned by Willys, the company licensed out the original Jeep CJ-7 design to Mahindra to manufacture a version over in India. Willys went defunct in 1963, but Mahindra kept on making their Jeep knockoffs without issue since the Jeep brand kept getting bounced from company to company with none of them caring for the tiny, inconsequential Indian market.
But now things have changed. India is a growing economy that is hungry for cars, and Indian companies are looking to grow beyond their home country. Combine that with the fact that Jeep is a top-performing brand for FCA, Fiat execs are seeing Mahindra as a real threat to their bottom line.
On August 1st, Fiat Chrysler filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission stating that the Mahindra Roxor infringes on Jeeps trademarks, specifically the "boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood.
"They are a nearly identical copy of the iconic Jeep design," the complaint continued, and even finished with the exact history lesson we provided above. "In fact, the accused product was modeled after the original Willys Jeep."
Mahindra opened a US headquarters near Detroit in 2017 and began importing Roxor parts to be assembled Stateside. The US Postal Service has already placed an order for the Roxor to replace some of their aging mail delivery vehicles.
Even though the Roxor is being sold as an ATV and not a road-legal vehicle, FCA is still vigorously defending their trademarks by stating the Roxor will damage them financially.
But there’s a little bit of a double standard here. Fiat Chrysler began building and selling real Jeeps in India last year.