Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

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

Mahindra & Mahindra Mahindra Two Wheelers Tech Mahindra Mahindra auto M&M group software auto auto component SUVs Mahindra tractors Ford Renault Jeep is trying to kill the Mahindra ROXOR, at least in the US
Orlando Vargas | 06 August, 2018, 15:44

The Mahindra Roxor, a two-seat all-terrain vehicle with retro Jeep styling, isn't permitted for use on USA roads, and is instead classed as a Utility Task Vehicle.

According to FCA, the Roxor off-roader is an identical copy of the Jeep.

Last week, Bloomberg had reported that FCA was looking to prevent the Roxor's sale in the United States on grounds that Mahindra has infringed the designs of its subsidiary, Jeep.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has just filed a U.S. trade complaint in an effort to bar Indian automaker Mahindra from importing an off-road vehicle that looks eerily similar to its iconic Jeep model.

FCA Group basically says the Roxor is a knock-off of the iconic Jeep design-wise and the compliant had pictures illustrating Roxor and Jeep's similarities. Commenting on the allegation that Mahindra off-roader infringes key characteristics of FCA's Jeep-branded SUVs, India automaker said, "We understand that a complaint has been filed by FCA with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) against Mahindra". FCA claims the "accused product was modelled after original Willys Jeep" and it damages the Jeep brand's reputation, goodwill and business in the American market.

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Mahindra actually holds a license to build CJ-inspired vehicles and still sells them in India as the Thar.

Mahindra said Fiat Chrysler's complaint is without merit.

"Our actions, products, and product distribution both honour the legacy of the relationship and the terms of our agreements with FCA".

Mahindra's association with Jeep goes back more than 50 years when the Indian entrepreneurs licensed the Jeep CJs to build and sell across India. "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". While the Roxor is not a road legal vehicle, FCA is concerned about the former's low price.

Mahindra has been operating in the U.S. since 2017, when it opened a facility in Southeast Michigan. "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", Mahindra added.

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