Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ battle to keep an Indian all-terrain vehicle — one that looks suspiciously like a certain flag-waving American off-road vehicle — out of the U.S. has come to an end. FCA won.
As reported by Bloomberg, the U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that Mahindra’s Roxor, which strongly resembles a Jeep CJ, is in violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and infringes on the complainant’s trade dress. In short, the Mahindra Roxor looks too much like a Jeep.
On Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) said it will review an administrative law judge’s initial determination, made in November, that Mahindra’s Roxor looks suspiciously like a Jeep product.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed a trade complaint with the ITC in 2018, claiming the Roxor infringes on Jeep’s “trade dress” — a term used to identify trademarked images or general appearance of a product. Not quite a patent, it exists on the fringes of intellectual property laws, frequently making trade dress issues difficult to navigate.
The judge’s recommendation was that regulators issue a cease-and-desist order and prohibit any Mahindra vehicles or parts that infringe from entering the country. Meanwhile, the commission is still in the midst of its own investigation — which opened in September of 2018 — and now estimates finishing its inquiry by March 20th.
From there, the U.S. Trade Representative would have two months to make a final determination. Of course, now that Mahindra has updated the look of the 2020 Roxor (below the break), the whole issue could be moot.
Eager to avoid further losses in the growth-primed Indian market, Ford has sealed a deal with an automaker that knows its way around the subcontinent: Mahindra & Mahindra.
Originally a partner when Ford cast its line back into India in the 1990s, the two automakers drifted apart, only to grow chummier when Ford’s global streamlining efforts took root. An alliance sprung up in 2017. Now, Mahindra will hold a controlling stake in the new JV, with Ford owning a 49-percent share of the business (while retaining full ownership of the Ford brand). Boosted market share and joint vehicle development tops the Blue Oval’s hopes, and you can bet that new SUVs are on the way.
Three SUVs, to be exact, including a new midsize model that’s all Mahindra underneath.
In this case, the locale is India — birthplace of the EcoSport and a developing, massively populous market with the potential to make automakers a ton of cash. And yet Ford’s efforts to seize a slice of this pie hasn’t born the fruit the Blue Oval initially hoped. Meanwhile, Ford is in the midst of a major global streamlining effort.
What to do?
Partner up. In this case, with a major Indian automaker — Mahindra & Mahindra, builder of SUVs and ATVs, including the adorable, Jeep-like Roxor.
The closure of Flint, Michigan’s sprawling Buick City complex was emblematic of the [s]destructive[/s] transformative forces at work in the American auto industry in the late 20th century and early 21st. The 264-acre facility was once the largest automotive plant in the world, a status that did nothing to ensure its continued survival. It closed for good in 2010.
Now comes word that the birthplace of so many LeSabres could sprout manufacturing jobs in the near future — 2,000 of them. Great news for Michigan’s automotive workforce and Flint’s coffers, but the plan won’t get off the ground without the Postal Service’s approval.
A decade-old document signed by Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra and Chrysler Group LLC will be at the center of an investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Announced Tuesday and reported by Reuters, the feds will look into the patent dispute that erupted when Mahindra began importing the very Jeep-like Roxor all-terrain vehicle into the United States. FCA claimed the Roxor looks too much like the classic Jeep CJ line, predecessor to the Wrangler, and filed an intellectual property complaint to the ITC. Nuh uh — we had a deal, Mahindra responded.
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.
Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is none too pleased with an Indian automaker’s plan to foist a Jeep CJ-like all-terrain vehicle on the United States market.
Mahindra & Mahindra’s Roxor is a larger ATV with a conventional layout and appearance that splits the difference between brush-busting fare from Polaris, et al, and road-legal off-roaders like the Jeep Wrangler. There’s a 2.5-liter inline-four diesel up front, and drivers put the power to all four wheels via an honest-to-goodness five-speed manual transmission. Oh, and it really, really looks like a Jeep CJ. We’re gaga over them.
FCA sure isn’t.
The machine you see before you isn’t a Jeep CJ from the ‘70s. Nor is it a Jeep CJ from the ‘80s. Despite its familiar shape, googly round eyes, and a front bumper sticking out like a spoilt child’s bottom lip, not one cent of the cash outlaid by customer will line FCA’s coffers.
It’s the Mahindra ROXOR – an off-roader from an Indian company, built in America, the Willys way. Got that?
China got a headstart in the “countries with over a billion people who suddenly love owning a car” race, but India’s trying its best to catch up.
With a growing pool of consumers ready and willing to hand over cash for a car, Ford Motor Company knows partnering with a local company that knows the lay of the land is a speedier and cheaper route to profits, so last year it formed an alliance with Mahindra Group. You know Mahindra — the company currently building a retro Jeep-shaped ATV for nostalgic Americans.
This week, the two companies further consummated their bond by signing off on the joint development of SUVs.
What’s that? You want a Jeep but don’t care for one at its current size? Does a 62 horsepower turbo-diesel engine, four-wheel drive, and front/rear leaf suspension appeal to you? And you have just $15,499 to spend? Does Mahindra now have a deal for you.
Just keep it off-road, mmmkay?
For the company’s sake, hopefully Mahindra & Mahindra’s second attempt to enter the U.S. market won’t go the same way as the first.
The Indian automaker is reportedly planning a 400,000-square-foot assembly plant in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, and has scheduled a press conference with government officials for November 20th. As we all know, local representatives and their higher-ups don’t like braving the cold unless there’s a promise of jobs and cameras.
A previous attempt to tap into the U.S. market went nowhere, ending in a lawsuit. If this plan comes to fruition, it would make Mahindra’s auto plant the first built in the Detroit area in decades — and would provide American consumers with some new SUV options.
The United States Postal Service put out a call for bids for a new delivery vehicle to replace its aging Grumman LLV a couple of years ago. We haven’t heard much about the process since then, other than the fact that the USPS secured funding and selected five finalists.
We recently uncovered a NHTSA filing submitted by Mahindra Automotive North America that may give us a better idea of what we can expect for the future mail truck.
Mahindra filed VIN documentation for 10 configurations of their version of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle in May of this year. The document shows two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, gasoline and mild hybrid versions as required by the USPS bid.
On one end of the spectrum, there’s the Ssangyong Rodius, which actually isn’t as catastrophically designed in its second-generation form as it was from 2004 to 2013.
On the other, there’s the Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Pininfarina.
Somewhere in between will be the next edition of Ssangyong’s large Rexton SUV, due in the early part of the next decade and styled by one of the world’s foremost design houses.
Bentley Bentayga, BMW X4, Lexus LX570? Get in line. The Ssangyong Rexton has secured Pininfarina’s services already.
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- ToolGuy "Having the dual sliders has been amazing as it let's me and my wife have our own "sides" of the van to prep for rides/races."Who goes on the traffic side??
- ToolGuy "I caught a little bit Saturday, but Sunday it seemed impossible to find on my cable. I think it was streaming on Peacock, which I have, all weekend, so I could've watched it that way. I'm not complaining, to be clear, since I could've popped Peacock on and yet I chose to watch something else."Being you sounds like a real chore. 😉
- ToolGuy If it is the longer-wheelbase version, good. (If not, it isn't.)
- ToolGuy "circumvent(ing) dealerships" should be illegal.Does "circumventing" mean spending my money there?
- ToolGuy If my head gets flatter I might consider this.