US Judge finds Mahindra's Roxor mimicking Jeep's grill features
29 November 2019
A US judge has found Mahindra Roxor, a Mahindra Thar-based offroad vehicle sold in the North American market, to be infringing on the iconic front-grill features of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand and has recommended a cease-and-desist order to prevent Mahindra from selling the Roxor.
The judge has determined that Mahindra violated 19 USC Section 1337 and recommended a
FCA could now ask the United States International Trade Commission to confirm the judge's conclusions and a cease-and-desist order could be issued by 13 March 2020.
FCA has accused Mahindra of using 6 features, known as trade dress, that are distinctively Jeep. These include exterior hood latches, door cutouts, rear body panels, and a boxy body shape.
Ever since the Indian automaker Mahindra announced plans to sell its extremely Jeep-like Roxor offroader in America, Fiat-Chrysler has been aiming to stop it. After a two-year legal fight, Jeep's parent company appears to be winning now.
But, this, however, isn't the a final court ruling, as FCA need the United States International Trade Commission to confirm Judge Elliott's conclusions. The ITC will require 60 days for a review of the court decision.
Mahindra has been marketing the Roxor as a fun off-roader alongside the Jeep CJ, which the Indian automaker was originally licensed to build in India in 1947. This has been renewed in 2009.
Mahindra says it had permission from Chrysler to build and sell Roxor in US and that the Chrysler Group LLC had, in 2009, agreed not to block its use of the distinctive Jeep-like grill on the offroader.
Mahindra, meanwhile, is reported to be all set to announce an updated Roxor SUV in the coming days. The SUV is built by Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA), which is Mahindra & Mahindra's subsidiary in the US.
As part of the 2020 updates, the Roxor gets an all-new front styling that replaces its retro looks with a more modern design – it gets a honeycomb grille and a plastic border around the headlamps. The new look co-incidentally seems to be inspired by the 1970s Land Cruiser FJ series. The company had shown multiple concepts based on the Roxor at the recently concluded SEMA show in Las Vegas, USA.
Additionally, the updated Roxor also gets a 5:38 axle ratio that, according to Mahindra, helps it climb hills better and makes the engine peppier. Speaking of the engine, the Roxor continues to be powered by the same 2.5-litre diesel engine that’s present on the 2019 model; it is mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed torque convertor automatic gearbox.
The Roxor gets a long list of customisation options straight from the factory, and there are many aftermarket tuning companies offering power and off-road related upgrades as well. The Roxor has been an instant hit amongst the North American off-road community, and the company is currently rolling out as many as 30 units of the SUV every day from its Michigan plant. Additionally, Mahindra will also supply the vehicle to the US Federal Postal Service. The Roxor 2020 is priced at $16,599 (ex-showroom) and is expected to hit Mahindra’s North American outlets soon.