There's been enough back-and-forth between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Mahindra over the past two years to write a book about, but the latter is working to make amends following a meeting with a United States International Trade Commission (ITC) judge. See, Mahindra's tiny Roxor UTV was thought by many—including FCA—to look almost exactly like Jeeps of yore. After FCA claimed it'd pursue a stop-sale order on the Roxor, Mahindra went back to the drawing board and created this newly revealed, redesigned version for 2020.
The Roxor now sports a different front fascia that retains a pair of round headlights, although there are no slats in the grille like those that strongly resembled past Jeeps. Instead, the headlamps are inside the black grille with body-color surrounds as part of a design that's admittedly similar to classic Toyota Land Cruisers—hopefully for Mahindra, nothing'll come of that.
Other design elements stay the same on the new Roxor, including the front fenders and rear end. External latches are still in place to keep the hood clamped down, and the overall shape continues to take after a CJ-7; however, this has all been done preemptively. The ITC is yet to decide on a ruling, although these tweaks could help to appease Jeep without any further action.
"We are pleased that the ITC has chosen to review the initial recommendation of the administrative law judge in our dispute with FCA," said Mahindra in a statement this week. "The commission indicated that it will be reviewing both the validity of FCA’s previously unclaimed U.S. rights in trade dress as well as whether the 2018/2019 Roxor infringes on the claimed trade dress. In addition, the ITC will be reviewing whether there was infringement by Mahindra of any of FCA’s registered trademarks.
"We are optimistic that the ITC will in its review conclude that FCA did not establish previously unclaimed U.S. rights in trade dress and that there was no infringement of either trade dress or registered trademarks."
"Mahindra has already launched its model year 2020 Roxor with significant styling changes and will make additional styling changes, if so required in cooperation with the ITC. In the meantime, Mahindra expects to enjoy increased sales of the 2020 model with its unique new grille design and numerous product improvements, which should continue creating additional jobs going forward."
Mahindra has held a license to produce old-school Jeeps in India for the past 70 years, but it's dealings in the U.S. are the source of its trouble with FCA.
Regardless of its cutely proportioned exterior, the Roxor is really quite the workhorse underneath. It boasts a 2.5-liter turbodiesel engine with 62 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque, which is good enough for a max tow rating of 3,520 pounds. It's not road legal but it'll haul anything you need around the farm or, dare we say, race track without issue—just don't overdo it.
Got a tip? Send us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org