Fiat Chrysler Files Complaint Against Mahindra in U.S. Over Vehicle Design

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has claimed in its complaint that Mahindra has copied the looks of Jeep for its off-road vehicle, Roxor.


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has lodged a complaint at the International Trade Commission in the United States against Mahindra’s off-road vehicle, Roxor, alleging that the Indian company has copied the looks of its Jeep.

FCA said in its complaint, filed on Aug. 1, that the design of the Roxor has been copied from the Jeep, and carries the same “boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood,” Bloomberg reported.

“Mahindra NA’s website show that they (Roxor) are a nearly identical copy of the iconic Jeep®design and incorporate the Jeep Trade Dress and Jeep Design Marks. In fact, the Accused Product was ‘modeled after the original Willys Jeep’ and copied down to the undercarriage of the historic Jeep® CJ,” FCA’s petition said, according to

“Mahindra has no right to use the Jeep IP. FCA owns and retains full rights in the Jeep IP and has not granted a license to Mahindra to use the Jeep IP in any country, including the United States. FCA’s predecessors did have prior dealings with Mahindra India, granting Mahindra India limited contractual rights to manufacture and/or sell Jeep branded components and products in India beginning in the 1940s. And none of those contracts at any time granted Mahindra India (or any other Mahindra entity) ownership rights over Jeep brand-related intellectual property. Nor did any of these past agreements grant any rights to manufacture, sell, or advertise vehicles, such as the Accused Products, incorporating the Jeep IP in the United States,” FCA said.

Mumbai-based Mahindra, which is known as India’s largest sports utility vehicle manufacturer, expanded its presence abroad last year, by opening its headquarters at Southeast Michigan in the United States. Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) opened its new headquarters as well as a manufacturing unit with an investment of $230 million in Detroit in November 2017.

Roxor was the first vehicle to be rolled out of the Detroit plant, and was launched in March this year with a price tag of $15000.

Mahindra said there was no merit in Fiat Chrysler’s complaint, Bloomberg reported. It said that the two firms have a long licensing relationship that goes back to the 1940s “with the original agreement with Willys and continues to this day,” including a 2009 agreement with Chrysler Group LLC, a Fiat Chrysler predecessor.

“Our actions, products, and product distribution (including Roxor) both honor the legacy of the relationship and the terms of our agreements with FCA,” it quoted Rich Ansell, a spokesman for Mahindra’s North American unit, as saying. “Mahindra has been co-existing with FCA (and the Jeep brand) for over 25 years in India and in many other countries.”

FCA has, however, held that Mahindra, which manufactures the product in India and assembles them in the United States, enjoys a position of cost advantage, and that its penetration into the U.S. market would harm FCA’s business.

FCA has been quite dependent on its Jeep line, and witnessed an increase in sales by almost 16 percent in July, helping the company register 5.9 percent growth in its overall sales since the year-ago period.

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