FCA has a famous company called Jeep, with a famous Wrangler. The Wrangler has a heritage the reaches World War II. Mahindra has a side-by-side off-road vehicle called the Roxor. It looks like the Jeep Wrangler of old, but it is only intended for agricultural and sporting purposes. So, FCA sued Mahindra for using a product in the likeness of the Jeep. Now comes word that FCA was successful in getting the courts to ban Roxor sales. But, there is more to the story.
There is more to the Wrangler lookalike case
If that was the whole story, it would make complete sense. A knock off product is a knock off product, even if it does not serve the same market. So, it would seem that FCA had everything going for them to win the case. And, they did. But, what is not being discussed outside the courts is the backstory about Roxor.
Mahindra had permission to create the Roxor
In 1947 the Willys company (pre-cursor to Jeep and FCA) granted rights to Mahindra to make a vehicle for the Indian market with the resemblance of Willys CJ. Later Willys would become Jeep, and in the 1960s, the company permitted Mahindra again to use the Jeep CJ pattern.
Since then, Mahindra has been selling the Jeep Wrangler lookalike overseas. But, in 2017, the company announced that the Roxor UTV would be coming to the United States. Additionally, they set up shop in Detroit, Michigan.
FCA had enough of the Wrangler copycat
That was the breaking point for FCA. Just a few months later, FCA took Mahindra to court over the Roxor. They have been in court since over the old Jeep Wrangler appearance. It has been a long battle that it seems Mahindra has lost as of right now, even though they have documented the rights granted to them. The United States Trade Commission posted their ruling Thursday.
The 2020 Roxor UTV
The Roxor UTV has a new front grille for 2020. But, the likeness to the Jeep Wrangler is still very apparent. As mentioned before, it is a side-by-side off-road vehicle. As such, it is not street legal in many states. Roxor’s starting price is $16,599. It is available with a manual or automatic gearbox. Its propulsion is via a diesel engine. It is available in over 100 colors and has many accessories available for it.
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler SUV
The Jeep Wrangler is an American legend, with unrivaled off-road prowess and street cred too. It is available at a starting price of $31,795 in the Sport Trim. The engine choices range from gas V6 to a diesel V6. Hundreds of accessories for the Wrangler are found from the Mopar parts counter and from aftermarket companies.
Was this a case of Mahindra biting the hand that fed them by moving into FCA’s back yard? Or, is it a case of the big schoolyard bully, FCA, not wanting to honor previous agreements with Mahindra. Whichever side you’re on, it seems like a previously agreeable commitment has, in essence, imploded.