The chunky yet adorable little off-roader you see above is the Mahindra Roxor. Think it looks a little too much like a Willys Jeep? So does Fiat Chrysler Automobiles - the automotive giant recently tried to block the sale of the ATV in the United States.
Where it gets a little complicated is the design of the grille: Mahindra is claiming that back in 2009, it struck a deal with FCA to use an approved grille design. Regardless, FCA wasn’t happy with the design of the Roxor, lodging a complaint with the US International Trade Commission.
The allegation was that Mahindra’s non-road-legal creation infringed the Jeep brand’s design trademark of a “boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood.” The complaint went on to state that: “In fact, the accused product was ‘modeled after the original Willys Jeep.’”
Mahindra - which has a long history of producing licensed versions of Jeep vehicles - has now hit back at FCA’s claims, filing a ‘public interest statement’ with the ITC. “Fiat is using the case to harm our Roxor business by creating negative publicity, damaging our reputation and our stature in the marketplace,” the company said.
It added: “The Roxor is a vehicle that was always intended only as an off-road vehicle, does not compete with Fiat vehicles, is manufactured and assembled in the first OEM plant to be built in Michigan, USA, in the last 25 years, was the result of more than three years of research and development, and categorically rejected the notion that the Roxor was an imported low quality “knock-off” kit car.”
The Roxor ATV - powered by a 2.5-litre diesel engine making 62bhp and 144lb ft of torque - remains on sale in the USA for $14,999.