The International Trade Commission has spoken.
A major hurdle has been cleared for the Mahindra Roxor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles won't be happy about it. The Indian-based automaker has announced it has received approval from the International Trade Commission to build and sell its off-road-only Roxor in the US. This is the Willys CJ lookalike that FCA has fought tooth and nail to prevent coming to market.
Back in 2018, FCA sued Mahindra over the Roxor's design, claiming it looked too much like its Jeep Wrangler. It didn't have much of a problem for Mahindra to sell it in India, but North America is a different story. Mahindra argued that since the Roxor was not street legal but rather aimed at customers like farmers, there shouldn't be any problems or customer confusion.
Last summer, FCA won a second ruling following a 2019 judgment that the Roxor was indeed a Wrangler copycat. But Mahindra refused to give up. It redesigned the Roxor's front grille yet again and the new styling was apparently good enough for the ITC to give the green light.
"Roxor was a success from the beginning with off-road enthusiasts and people with active outdoor lifestyles," stated Rick Haas, President and CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America. "The vehicle has also proved extremely popular with people who want to work with it - they like that it can withstand the rigors of rugged everyday use. This 'ruggedness' was at the heart of the redesign as we wanted an aggressive look that reflected just how tough and capable Roxor is."
As expected, FCA refuses to abandon its legal fight. "While FCA is disappointed with the Commission's decision regarding the redesign, we believe we will be successful in appealing this decision," a spokesperson told The Detroit News.
The Roxor is not built in India but rather in Auburn Hills, Michigan, just minutes away from FCA headquarters and about an hour's drive from the Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio. Meanwhile, we haven't heard anything about what FCA (soon to be Stellantis) has to say about Mahindra's latest SUV, the India-only Thar.