However, the Mahindra Roxor might wear retro Jeep styling but it's a "side-by-side" off-roader that is not road-legal, limited to a 72km/h top speed and aimed at farmers and recreational users, priced from about $US15,000 - much less than the Willy's spiritual successor, the Jeep Wrangler.
On August 1, FCA US LLC filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission alleging violations of section 337 of Tariff Act 1930 in which it claims that Mahindra's off-road utility vehicle Roxor is a copy of the Jeep design IP owned by FCA.
FCA cited the Roxor's "boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood" as evidence it is "a almost identical copy of the iconic Jeep design; in fact, the accused product was "modelled after the original Willys Jeep".
FCA's claim rises from the Roxor's distinctly Jeep-like styling: a curved hood, round headlights, almost vertical bodysides, a flat grille, exterior hood latches, and more.
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Last week, Bloomberg had reported that FCA was looking to prevent the Roxor's sale in the USA on grounds that Mahindra has infringed the designs of its subsidiary, Jeep. "Mahindra has been co-existing with FCA for over 25 years in India and in many other countries", Rich Ansell, spokesperson for Mahindra North America, told the publication.
The ROXOR features a ladder-frame construction, metal body panels, 16-inch wheels and a four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission - quite a serious upgrade from the typical plastic-bodied side-by-side ATVs. Mahindra has a historic relationship and agreements with FCA and its predecessors that go back 70 years. The resilient Mahindra became the first non-domestic auto brand to establish its production base in Detroit since Mazda in 1987 and is planning to triple the work force by 2020 with further investment.
The Italian-American automaker is requesting that the International Trade Commission investigate Mahindra's distribution and sale of the Roxor in the United States.
MANA is part of the $19 billion Mahindra Group and recently opened a new NA Automotive headquarters and manufacturing center in Auburn Hills. The trucks can be found at off-road vehicle dealers with prices starting around $15,000.