American SUV icon Jeep’s parent company Fiat Chrysler has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission seeking to ban Indian automotive giant Mahindra from importing its Roxor SUV into the United States. According to Bloomberg, Fiat Chrysler in its petition to the US International Trade Commission asking the organization to conduct an investigation into the Roxor, claiming the Mahindra SUV is a clear copy of the iconic Jeep design and is modelled after the original Willys Jeep used in the Second World War.
Asking for an investigation under section 337 of the US Tariff Act of 1930, Fiat Chrysler states in its complaint that the Roxor copies design characteristics of its iconic Jeep brand namely the “boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood.”
Fiat Chrysler’s complaint comes at a time when the Italian American conglomerate has become highly dependent on its Jeep brand of SUVs, which have been growing in popularity across the world and has been selling in ever-increasing numbers. Fiat Chrysler fears that Mahindra, which has opened up an assembling facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan for the Roxor, will undercut Jeep sales in the United States thanks to its lower prices.
Mahindra manufactures the Roxor in India and then imports the SUV into the US as completely knocked down kits, which are then assembled in the carmaker’s Michigan facility. Fiat Chrysler claims that Mahindra with its ability to manufacture the vehicle at a lower price in India along with its goal of getting into the US market will harm FCA’s goodwill and business in the United States.
The Roxor is a two-seater 4×4 utility vehicle built by Mahindra for off-roading enthusiasts in the North American market. Powering the Roxor is a 2.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine that produces 62bhp and 195Nm of torque which is sent to all four wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox along with a 2-speed low-ratio gearbox. And Jeep may be right to seek a ban as the Roxor definitely does look like a modern version of the old-school Willy’s Jeep with its boxy body and vertical slat grille.
Mahindra is actually one of the many companies around the world, which licensed out the right to build their version of the Willys Jeep after the Second World War and still continues to sell it the form of the Thar in India. However, attempting to enter the US with a Willys lookalike seems to have been a step too far for Jeep, who is now trying to deport the Roxor like the nation’s President likes to do to everyone else.
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