— The Mahindra ROXOR may not be around much longer in the U.S. after a judge found the off-road vehicles are too similar to Jeep Wranglers, with the judge recommending the International Trade Commission ban the vehicles in the U.S.
Fiat Chrysler filed a complaint against India-based Mahindra for allegedly making the ROXOR appear to be a Jeep, even though the ROXOR isn't currently legal on the streets. Mahindra imports parts from India to Michigan where the vehicles are assembled for use as ATVs.
But Chrysler argues consumers are easily confused by the design of the ROXORs that have even made automotive journalists do double takes.
FCA filed the complaint by arguing the Jeep is recognizible based on the "boxy" look and vertical-slot flat grille, something Mahindra allegedly copied for the ROXOR. Chrysler also says the rear body panels end at about the same height as the flat hood with curved edges that taper to a narrow front.
In a ruling from Judge Cameron Elliot, Mahindra is told an order is necessary to prevent the company from manufacturing or selling the vehicles, something the judge says the International Trade Commission should seriously consider.
The Commission has the legal authority to ban the vehicles, but Mahindra will likely appeal the decision which says its business practices may harm Jeep's brand.
Mahindra admits the ROXOR is modeled on the Willys Jeep, but the company claims the "utility vehicle" isn't for U.S. highways and doesn't compete against the Jeep. Mahindra may call them utility vehicles, but Chrysler says the ROXORs look nothing like utility vehicles and Mahindra knew it from the beginning.
Chrysler knows Mahindra well because both companies have been in business together since the 1940s when FCA says it granted the Indian company contractual rights to build and sell Jeep-branded components and products, but only in India.