Back in August, we told you about the ongoing lawsuit battle between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Indian manufacturer Mahindra over it’s Roxor UTV. While the lawsuit is still going on, it didn’t stop Mahindra from making an appearance at the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The Roxor display was only a couple hundred feet from the FCA’s Jeep display.
The Roxor is virtually a modern take on the CJ-5. With licensing rights dating back to when Willy-Overland owned the Jeep brand, you would think FCA would be flattered that the Mahindra brand is creating such a vehicle. Well not exactly. FCA filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission and is seeking an investigation and eventual order barring the company from assembling the vehicle in the United States.
The Roxor is assembled in the United States. Matter of fact, the Roxor is produced only a few miles from the FCA Chrysler Tech Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Roxor kits are imported from India and assembled in Michigan.
Although the Mahindra isn’t street-legal, it hasn’t stopped FCA from trying to put an end to the Roxor. The filing lays out the key design features of the Roxor that FCA says may confuse consumers, including the boxy shape, flat hood and round headlamps that are incorporated into Jeep’s “trade dress.” This isn’t the first time the Jeep brand’s design features have been involved in a lawsuit.
In 2002, courts found it was alright for General Motors to use the seven slot grille for its Hummer brand. The Hummer brand, had history that dated back to the American Motors Corporation (which was bought by Chrysler Corporation in 1987), when it split its Jeep brand and it’s Jeep military contract vehicles into the AM General Corporation.