Only a few weeks after the Stellantis Group (Owner of FCA, Citroen, Maserati and a lot of other brands) sued Mahindra & Mahindra in Australia, the Indian manufacturer has signaled that it will not launch the Thar in the Australian market. Mahindra had imported one unit of all-new Thar to Australia and also released a teaser video of the Thar, which lead to the lawsuit by Stellantis or Jeep.
Update: Mahindra’s official statement about the matter:
“We’re seeing very strong demand for the all-new Thar 2020 in India, therefore have no immediate plans for launch of the current variant of the Thar in markets outside India. As a result, it was pointless to engage in a litigation at this stage. When we decide to launch any new variant of the Thar in Australia, we will provide 90 days’ notice to FCA and take all steps to protect our rights to market and sell the product. This has no bearing on our future plans in Australia as we continue to pursue expansion of our business across a number of vehicle categories.”
What actually happened?
After the release of the video teaser of the Thar in Australia, the parent company of Jeep filed a lawsuit against Mahindra where it said that the design of the Thar is too similar to the Jeep Wrangler, which is already on sale in the Australian market.
New information on CarAdvice indicates that the Stellantis Group also accused Mahindra of misleading and deceptive conduct in court. Other than that, they also alleged Mahindra of “passing off”, and “infringement of registered designs”. The Stellantis Group had asked Mahindra to give an undertaking that it will not launch the Thar in Australia. And if they ever intend to launch the vehicle in the local market, that Mahindra provide 90 days notice.
Earlier, Mahindra appealed for a 45 days notice. Now though, Mahindra has agreed to the 90-day notice to Jeep according to the court’s undertaking. The legal representatives of Mahindra also agreed that the manufacturer would “not import, market or sell in Australia the model of the Thar vehicle” or a future variant of the Mahindra Thar SUV. The undertaking was given by John Hennessey, who is representing Mahindra & Mahindra in the Australian court.
How did it start?
Earlier this month, Mahindra started a section on its official website in Australia with the Mahindra Thar to register the interest of the users. According to Patrick Flynn, who is representing Jeep in the court said that Mahindra advertised locally that the vehicle was coming to the market. The page, which has now been taken down send an email saying, “Thank you for your enquiry on the all-new Mahindra Thar. As we get closer to launching this exciting new vehicle in Australia, we will communicate with you via this email address.”
That is when the Stellantis Group filed a case against Mahindra & Mahindra.
The Stellantis Group has issued a statement on the development,
“FCA is pleased that Mahindra has conceded and undertaken that they will not import, market or sell the current Thar vehicle in Australia, and will provide prior notice to FCA before bringing any future model or variant of the Thar into Australia. This outcome illustrates our commitment to protect the iconic trade dress and trademarks of the Jeep brand here and overseas, and continue to engage the passion our customers and loyal Jeep community in Australia have for these iconic vehicles.”
Mahindra won 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.