Jeep’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler, has filed a patent complaint against Mahindra at the US International Trade Commission. Fiat has sought a ban on import of Mahindra Roxor SUV into US markets as they claim that the new Mahindra SUV is a copy of Jeep design and borrows several design elements from the original Willys Jeep used during World War II.
Fiat Chrysler has asked US International Trade Commission to conduct an inquiry into this issue and the pliant was filed under section 337 of US Tariff Act of 1930. The company claims that all design elements on the new Mahindra Roxor are typical of the Jeep. It gets the same boxy body shape, flat vertical sides, rear body design and hood height.
This complaint comes at a time when the Jeep brand is noting increased sales across the globe. Fiat Chrysler is also apprehensive about the fact that Mahindra and Mahindra have opened a new assembly facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan from where the Roxor is brought in as a CKD product from India. Lower prices of the Mahindra Roxor will also have an impact in Jeep sales in the country.
Mahindra Roxor was launched in the US in March this year. It was based on the Mahindra Thar but the design was changed to make it unique in appearance. It is sold under the Mahindra North America or MANA in the US and is priced from $15,000.
Mahindra Roxor is powered by a 2.5 liter, 4 cylinder turbo diesel engine offering 62 bhp power and 192 Nm torque. It gets left hand drive, manual gearbox and a manual four wheel drive shifter. It comes in without any doors and windscreen, no hard top roof and as per reports, Mahindra has also changed its front end so as to conflict with Jeep brands design language in the US market.
Coincidentally, this is not the first time Mahindra has been having a problem in the US. A few years ago, they were brought to the court by their official distributor in the USA. That time, they had to shut shop and leave the country. It remains to be seen how US handles the case this time.