Rare Rides: The 2003 Studebaker XUV Story, Part I

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 2003 studebaker xuv story part i

In part five of our six-part series on the Studebaker Avanti, I mentioned a concept the company debuted in the early 2000s, the XUV. A Big Tough Truck styled almost-just-like the crazy popular Hummer H2, consumers weren’t the only party to take notice. Let’s talk lawsuit.

The XUV was introduced during the second to last iteration of Avanti Motors, during the time the firm was based in Georgia and building Camaro (then Mustang) bastardized versions of the Avanti. Seeking to capitalize on the SUV boom, the company trademarked the XUV (Xtreme Utility Vehicle) name, then debuted it early in 2003. With their announcement came the proclamation the XUV would begin production in the fall of 2003.

First shown via a press photo that looked like a painting, the big yellow XUV was poised on rocks, ready to conquer the parking lot at the local Olive Garden. It declared the Avanti company was redefined, restored, and reinvented. The company followed up with a Studebaker display at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show. There, an orange XUV was shown amongst some rocks and parked next to the current Avanti. The date was February 10th.

Word of the XUV’s debut spread to General Motors rather quickly, and the company had a lawsuit in process before the close of the month. GM’s charges were pretty direct: The XUV “knocked off and misappropriated the shape of the Hummer H2.” The lawyer who managed the suit on GM’s side stated “GM won’t allow others to profit from and capitalize upon the enormous popularity and goodwill developed in the Hummer H2 by copying its trade dress.” The claim makes perfect sense to those of you who remember just how hot the H2 was at the time.

By early August 2003, the lawsuit was settled with a couple of very definite wins for GM. Avanti managed to keep itself out of any boiling water, but things were still hot. Avanti had agreed to a permanent injunction: The company was barred from producing any SUV similar to the Hummer H2.

But they still planned to move forward with the XUV, undeterred by this legal action. Their truck would be different – very different – to the Hummer H2. And how? Women, of course. More on that in Part II.

[Image: Avanti Motors]

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  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)
  • Tassos And all 3 of them were ordered by Fisker's mother.Seriously, after Fisker's DISMAL record of UTTER FAILURE in the past, only a GOD DAMNED MORON would order this one.
  • RHD Any truth to the unconfirmed rumor that the new, larger model will be called the bZ6X? We could surmise that with a generous back seat it certainly should be!
  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.https://www.lhd.com.au/lhd-insights/australian-road-death-statistics/