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Court Clears Mahindra Roxor Sales in US as Jeep Continues to Fight

It’s not a Jeep, but it scratches the same itch.

byJames Gilboy|
Mahindra Roxor in a field
Mahindra
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A court has ruled that Jeep's lawsuit against Mahindra over the Roxor UTV has no ground to stand on since the off-roader's substantial redesign. As a result, Mahindra is clear to sell its distant relative to the Wrangler in the United States.

The pair's legal spat began in August 2018 when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now part of Stellantis) complained to authorities of the Mahindra Roxor's visual similarity to the Jeep CJ. Jeep described the Roxor as a "nearly identical copy" as quoted by Automotive News, pointing to its "boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood."

It's not just the Roxor's body that was similar, either. The vehicle is descended from license-built CJs dating back to the late 1940s. In some major mechanical respects, its design is still similar to the CJ, meaning it stands to eat into sales of Jeep's off-road staple the 2024 Wrangler.

Mahindra Roxor all-weather model. Mahindra

In June 2020, the U.S. International Trade Commission initially took FCA's side, stating the Roxor infringed on Jeep's trade dress (its appearance) and recommending a ban on importing and selling Roxor parts. Mahindra responded by aggressively restyling the Roxor for 2020, which satisfied the ITC.

Now, Bloomberg reports the Eastern District Court of Michigan has ruled in favor of Mahindra, re-enabling sale of the Roxor. In a July 19 decision, the court reportedly denied Jeep's request to enforce the "safe distance rule" that would've required a further redesign.

Mahindra Roxor off-roading in a forest. Mahindra

This opens the door for the Roxor to remain in the burgeoning side-by-side market, as a cheaper alternative to road-legal off-roaders. The Roxor also offers the appeal of being smaller and mechanically simpler than SUVs like the Wrangler or Ford Bronco, and is even legal to register for road use in some states. Legality varies widely across the country, however, and sometimes even by jurisdiction.

One thing's for sure, though: It won't be too long before you see a Roxor rockin' out on a trail near you. And if you're in a state that allows them plates, maybe the drive-thru too.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com

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