According to The Detroit News, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled last week that Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd’s US-built “Roxor” off-road vehicle is a copy of the Jeep Wrangler SUV. As a result of this finding, the ITC ruling prohibits Mahinda from importing vehicles and components that copy the appearance of the Jeep. The Roxor was built from 2018 to 2019.
While the Roxor is built in Auburn Hills, some components such as the engine and some body panels are built in India and assembled in the United States. The next step for Mahinda is further review in which the current administration has 60 days to veto the decision on public policy grounds or Mahindra can appeal to federal circuit court.
The case was originally brought to the ITC by Fiat Chrysler America who claimed Roxor’s boxy shape, vertical sides and rear body and hood all shared similarities with FCA’s Jeep.
Fiat Chrysler is facing growing competition in the off-road sector that for decades it has dominated. In addition to the Roxor, the return of Ford Motor Co.’s Bronco and its smaller version is forthcoming. The Bronco is set to make its first appearance next month, and this week, Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer, said during an auto industry conference held by Deutsche Bank that it would be a “much superior product” to Jeep.
Interesting fact I did not know – Jeep and Mahindra used to work together since 1940’s to build Jeeps for the Willy Overland Export Company.
Jeep and Mahindra had worked together starting in the 1940s when the Mumbai-based automaker began assembling Jeeps at its Kandivali plant under contract with Willy Overland Export Corp. Mahindra had defended itself that such past agreements dating to as late as 2009 gave them the right to build and sell the Roxor. Mahindra has also placed a bid proposal to build the next U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail delivery vehicle, so we will likely hear more about them in the future.