Fiat Chrysler Automobiles or FCA is dragging Mahindra to the court, yet again. After the long legal battle in the USA, Fiat has sued Mahindra in Australia. As Mahindra released a teaser advertisement of the Thar SUV in the Australian market, Fiat Chrysler has demanded that Mahindra should not launch the Thar in the Australian market and if they still want to, there should be a notice of 90 days.
Both the parties have moved to the Federal Court of Australia since then. Fiat has a problem with the design of the Mahindra Thar, which it claims infringes the Jeep Wrangler’s design. Mahindra has filed a reply in the court stating that Mahindra does not plan to launch the current model of the Thar in the Australian market. Also, Mahindra has agreed to provide adequate notice to FCA, if they plan to introduce the model in the market.
A Mahindra spokesperson replied to the TOI query,
An M&M spokesperson said, “We have filed our reply in the proceeding commenced by FCA against us. There are no plans to launch the current model of the Thar in Australia. We would provide adequate notice to FCA, as is requested if we were to launch any future model of the Thar in Australia. The Court has listed the case to be heard on May 20, 2021. We have no immediate plans for the all-new Thar to be launched in other markets outside India given the strong demand that we are seeing in India.”
Mahindra has also removed the teaser of the Thar from its Australian website. The Indian auto giant has maintained that it has no intention to launch the current Thar in the Australian market at present.
Mahindra won the case in the USA
The fresh court case comes only five months after Mahindra & Mahindra won a court case against Fiat Chrysler in the USA. Fiat filed a lawsuit against Mahindra & Mahindra in the USA claiming that the design of the Roxor infringes the “Jeep Trade Dress” design. While Fiat asked for a complete stop on the sale of the Roxor in the USA market, the court ruled in the favour of Mahindra and allowed it to sell the Roxor in the USA but after changing the design. The Roxor, which is sold as an ATV has become quite popular in the USA.
Mahindra launched the all-new Thar in the Indian market last year. It has become a massive success in the domestic market and the demand for the vehicle has skyrocketed since its launch. There is such a demand for the Thar in the Indian market that the waiting period in some places has crossed over one year. That is why Mahindra wants to fulfil the domestic demand before exporting the all-new Thar to the foreign markets.
Mahindra has a stronghold in many markets around the world. As the all-new Thar is extremely affordable compared to the Jeep Wrangler, it may pose a threat to the vehicle. In fact, Mahindra is also planning a five-door version of the Thar, which will defiantly hurt Jeep’s shares in a few markets. However, the Wrangler and the Thar do not belong to the same segment in any way. The Wrangler is much more premium and capable than the all-new Thar.