By on August 29, 2018

Mahindra ROXOR

There’s an Indo-Italian-American battle heating up in Michigan. Mahindra and Mahindra, maker of the absolutely adorable, U.S.-built Roxor ATV, is fighting back against Fiat Chrysler’s efforts to squash the little all-terrain vehicle’s future in this country.

FCA’s beef is this: the generously proportioned ATV, which is not road legal here (but is in India), bears a striking resemblance to a classic Jeep CJ7. At the beginning of the month, the automaker filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an bid to stop the importation of Roxor parts to the company’s Michigan factory.

Not gonna happen, Mahindra says. You saw our grille and you gave it the thumbs up.

According to Reuters, Mahindra isn’t having any of this patent violation kerfuffle. The company announced Wednesday that it is seeking an injunction to stop FCA’s complaint, calling it “without merit.”

In a press release, Mahindra said it filed a public interest statement with the ITC on August 22nd, in which it explains why the powers that be should rule in its favor.

Mahindra ROXOR

Mahindra said it “demonstrated that the ROXOR is a vehicle that was always intended only as an off-road vehicle, does not compete with Fiat vehicles, is manufactured and assembled in the first OEM plant to be built in Michigan, USA, in the last 25 years, was the result of more than three years of research and development, and categorically rejected the notion that the ROXOR was an imported low quality ‘knock-off’ kit car.”

A day after issuing its statement, Mahindra filed a complaint with the Federal Court of Michigan, seeking an injunction on the grounds that a 2009 agreement between the two companies forbids FCA from going after the Roxor. Mahindra claims FCA agreed “to never bring such claims if we use a grille that they approved.”

“The Roxor uses that grille,” Mahindra wrote. “We are also arguing that Fiat is using the ITC case to harm our Roxor business by creating negative publicity, damaging our reputation and our stature in the marketplace.”

With a price similar to that of an entry-level car, the Roxor splits the difference between smaller ATVs and road-legal brush busters. The vehicle employs a 62-horsepower diesel four-cylinder and a conventional five-speed manual transmission.

[Images: Mahindra and Mahindra]

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25 Comments on “Mahindra to Fiat Chrysler: Nah, We’re Selling Our Little Jeepy-Jeep Thing...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Next thing you know, Mahindra will open its own sales outlets!

  • avatar

    Just drive them both until one breaks down. The broken one will be the genuine Jeep product.

  • avatar

    Relax FCA, it’s a glorified golf cart. Now, go make me a mid-size pick-up, we’re waiting…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    From what I understand, Mahindra has been building Jeep-like vehicles such as the Roxor since 1947, having licensed that right from Willys. FCA is now upset because the vehicle is coming to one of its key markets. It’s possible that FCA doesn’t expect to win this, but is merely making a good-faith effort to defend its intellectual property…in order to set a precedent. That way, if someone really rips it off, there’ll be evidence that they’ve been good stewards of that intellectual property in the past.

  • avatar

    I’ve read Mahindra’s filing and to this non-lawyer it seems they have a pretty cut and dried case. Apparently Mahindra was thinking of selling their Scorpio SUV in the US back in 2008-2009 and Chrysler had an issue with the grill. So all the lawyers got together and came up with a dorky, non-Jeep looking grill that Chrysler was OK with – called the “approved grill design”. That’s what the Roxor uses, and is why it looks so awkward. Here’s the language Chrysler agreed to in the contract they signed with Mahindra:

    “Chrysler consents to the use and incorporation of the grille design shown in Exhibit A (hereinafter the “Approved Grille Design”) in vehicles sold and advertised in the United States by Mahindra and/or its affiliates and authorized dealers. Chrysler agrees and warrants that it will not assert against Mahindra, its affiliates, authorized dealers, or customers, or anyone else, any claim for infringement of Chrysler’s trade dress, trademark, or other intellectual property rights in the United States based on: (1) a grille having the Approved Grille Design; or (2) a vehicle containing or using the Approved Grille Design.”

    The contract doesn’t say anything about a specific model or vehicle so it would appear to be generally applicable, not just for the Scorpio. FCA looks like they’re going to take it in the chops on this one, and Mahindra isn’t pulling any punches – asking for lawyers fees, treble damages, all that stuff.

  • avatar

    “…ROXOR is a vehicle that was always intended only as an off-road vehicle,”

    So is Jeep. I would be mad about this design.

    Hey, but if they had an agreement then FCA shot itself into the foot back then.

  • avatar

    Hey Mahindra, we’d like you to stop making your cardboard box in the shape of a rectangle….

  • avatar

    Anyone else secretly hoping that Ford will produce a modern version of the Jeeps they one built – complete with the sideways grill slats, just to annoy FCA?

  • avatar

    I think I’d rather have the Mahindra. I live on a farm so I could ride that thing on the road between farm operations quite legally here in PA and that’d be a great little farm truck.

  • avatar

    If Jeep sold this themselves I would have already bought one. Every actual Jeep since the CJ2 has been an abomination of one kind or another anyway.

  • avatar

    Jeepy McJeepster?

  • avatar

    Where the hell do you even use this thing? Can’t drive it on the road, and to big to fit on standard ATV trails – what’s the actual point of this thing?

    • 0 avatar

      If you slap a Jeep badge on the front, would local law enforcement really know the difference? If this *were* road-legal and had taller gearing, I wonder what kind of fuel mileage I could see at 55 MPH?

    • 0 avatar

      A) People with some acreage
      B) People who currently trailer Jeeps to offroad parks.

      I would absolutely pick this over a modern side-by-side, just way more fun to bounce along in an old school Jeep.

  • avatar

    You can drive it on secondary roads in WI. Don’t even need a license. You can also drink and drive in it in some counties which I think is the stupidest idea they could come up with.*

    *The speed limit for all ATVs and SxS vehicles is 30mph. Like that makes a difference.

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