Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA), the North American headquarters of the Mahindra Group, has dismissed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ reported complaint at the US International Trade Commission, seeking to prevent Mahindra & Mahindra from importing the Roxor off-road vehicle, which is Mahindra’s big bet for the US market.
Last week, Bloomberg had reported that FCA is looking to prevent the Roxor’s sale in the US on grounds that Mahindra has infringed the designs of its subsidiary, Jeep. FCA claims that the Roxor (which is based on the Thar) infringes key characteristics of Jeep’s signature design such as 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," Bloomberg quoted Fiat Chrysler saying in its complaint, which included photos comparing the Roxor to the Jeep. In fact, the Roxor is "modeled after the original Willys Jeep," the complaint added.
Unveiled earlier this year by Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA), the Roxor ushers in a new innings for Mahindra in the US – a market where it has failed to establish itself successfully – by offering tough, durable and rugged off-road vehicles.
Now, MANA has issued a statement clarifying the issue and its right to both produce and retail the Roxor in the US market. “Mahindra has not yet been served with the complaint and we prefer not to comment at length on the dispute at this time. However, we have reviewed FCA’s core filing and find it to be without merit. Mahindra has a historic relationship and agreements with FCA and its predecessors that go back 70 years. The relationship began in the 1940s with the original agreement with Willys and continues to this day, with the most recent agreement executed with FCA (then Chrysler Group LLC) in 2009.”
“Our action, products and product distribution (including Roxor) both honor the legacy of the relationship and the terms of our agreements with FCA. Mahindra has been co-existing with FCA (and the Jeep brand) for over 25 years in India and in many other countries. The Roxor is a derivative of Mahindra vehicles distributed in those markets. Based on these agreements and our history, we believe that FCA’s claims are baseless and Mahindra is well within its rights to both manufacture and distribute the Roxor off-road vehicle,” the MANA statement says.