Another legal fight begins.
Following a years-long legal battle, Indian automaker Mahindra received approval from the International Trade Commission to build and sell the off-road-only Roxor in the US. Even though it's not street-legal (the intended target audience is farmers and off-road enthusiasts), Jeep was not pleased. It sued Mahindra last year and initially won over the Roxor's design, claiming it too closely resembled the old school CJ Jeep Wrangler. Mahindra redesigned the vehicle, and ultimately won because of its non-street-legal status.
But now there's another Mahindra-built Wrangler clone that Jeep doesn't like. The Mahindra Thar was revealed last year and is now on sale in India. Attempts to sell it elsewhere are already a problem.
CarAdvice reports Jeep has begun legal proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia. Lawyers for both companies were present to argue their cases. Jeep's lawyer informed the court that Mahindra "advertised locally that the vehicle was coming to Australia" and created an expression of interest page. Those who indicated interest were sent an email stating Mahindra will be in contact with them as the Thar's launch date gets closer. No launch date was provided, however.
Mahindra has since removed this webpage but still retains consumer data. Meanwhile, Mahindra argued before the court that the Thar "has been imported into Australia for testing" for homologation but sales are not happening just yet. Test mules have already been spotted on Australian roads.
Oddly, Mahindra's lawyer stated the automaker sent Jeep a letter before legal proceedings got underway informing it there was no current intention to import and sell the Thar Down Under. Jeep's lawyers want assurances from Mahindra the automaker will be given at least a 90-day notice informing them of any plans to test the Thar. Mahindra countered with a 45-day request.
The judge didn't buy Mahindra's argument because if it had no intention to test and eventually sell the Thar in Australia, why bother with the shortened request? Therefore, it seems clear Mahindra wants to leave the door open to import the Thar eventually, but Jeep's lawyers maintain they'll continue to fight against that.