Mahindra has responded to the claim made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles about the Willys Jeep's apparent design similarities to the Mahindra Roxor. As reported earlier, FCA believes that Mahindra’s Roxor violates many of the Jeep brand’s signature design and has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). In a statement made by the home-grown automaker, the company said that they have not yet been served with the complaint and that it is aware that FCA has filed one with ITC.
“We have reviewed FCA’s core filing and find it to be without merit,” the company said. “Mahindra has a historic relationship and agreements with FCA and its predecessors that go back seventy years,” added Mahindra. “The relationship began in the 1940’s with the original agreement with Willys and continues to this day, with the most recent agreement executed with FCA (then Chrysler Group LLC) in 2009.”
Mahindra also stated, “Our actions, products, and product distribution (including Roxor) both honour the legacy of the relationship and the terms of our agreements with FCA. Mahindra has been co-existing with FCA (and the Jeep brand) for over 25 years in India and in many other countries.”
“The Roxor is a derivative of Mahindra vehicles distributed in those markets. Based on these agreements and our history, we believe that FCA’s claims are baseless and Mahindra is well within its rights to both manufacture and distribute the Roxor off-road vehicle.”
However, this would not be the first time FCA has taken an automaker to court over the Jeep’s design. In 2002, then Daimler-Chrysler had taken General Motors to the U.S. circuit court of appeals over the grille design of the Hummer H2 which, allegedly, bore similarity to Jeep SUVs. In that particular case, the panel ruled against Daimler-Chrysler as it was unable to prove it had ‘family of marks’ associated with the Jeep brand.