The battle between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Mahindra continues and now, it could get worse for the Indian carmaker. The two companies have not been on the best of terms over the past few years after using the same design language for their cars sold in the US.
Fiat Chrysler feels that Mahindra’s Roxor is copying the trademarked design. Jeep. Mahindra, on the other hand, says they have permission to use the aforementioned design elements. And this argument has played out in the courts for years.
But with the latest update on this legal battle, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – Jeep’s parent company – has another chance to block sales of the Mahindra Roxor in the US, here’s how.
Jeep vs Mahindra: The battle is on.
In another development in the long-running legal battle between FCA and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals has found that a federal court in Detroit was wrong in its conclusion earlier in the case. had arrived It said the court applied an incorrect standard in ruling that consumers of the Mahindra Roxas were unlikely to think of it as a Jeep product.
The Detroit federal court in question concluded that the post-2020 Roxor was substantially different from the Jeep, stating that an average person would “immediately know” that the updated Roxor was not a Jeep. Is.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals argued that because Mahindra was already an infringer, the federal court should have held the automaker to a higher standard. The 6th Circuit has sent the legal case back to a Detroit court asking them to reconsider whether a “safe distance” is being maintained by the current Roxor and Jeep designs, Reuters reports. .
If the court now finds that the new Roxor can indeed be considered a Jeep, the sale of the vehicle in the country may be banned.
Not the first rodeo for Jeep and Mahindra.
Mahindra and Jeep have been battling it out ever since the Indian automaker tried to establish itself in North America with the first iteration of the Mahindra Roxar, which looked quite similar to the Jeep CJ. Interestingly, however, Mahindra has been building Jeep CJs for decades, dating back to the 1960s, under license – and they’re not the only ones doing so. Companies like Mitsubishi and EBRO in Spain have been doing the same.
For decades, Jeep focused on America as it was their core market and Mahindra focused on India as their core market. But with the onset of globalization in recent years, Jeep entered India looking at a market and Mahindra did the same, wanting a piece of the pie in the US market. On the other hand, over the years, Jeep changed ownership and became Fiat Chrysler Automobiles which would then merge with the PSA Group to become what is known today as Stellantis.
Eventually, upon Mahindra’s entry into the US market, the matter went to court and FCA tried to stop sales of the Roxar altogether. Arguments were made on both sides but Mahindra was unable to present a convincing defence. All this forced Mahindra to revise its design and come up with an updated Roxor that was eventually found to be quite different from the Jeep, and was allowed to go on sale again in 2020.
Future of Mahindra in America
Mahindra is exploring other options globally for partnerships and has already joined hands with German carmaker Volkswagen. Both companies have a common goal – to stay on top of trends as the entire industry embraces the shift to electric vehicles.
Mahindra has said that it is going to launch several new vehicles designed for the global market and some of them will be electric. These vehicles will use Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) platform.
And if you think about it, this partnership could really help give Mahindra another shot at the US passenger car market. While Volkswagen gets to work with a company that specializes in mass-market cars and makes them at a lower cost, Mahindra has its hands on the latest VW technology like the MEB platform.
This will allow Mahindra to fast-track its EV development as it will save time on developing electrical components such as electric motors, battery cells, and battery system components. And above all, EVs based on the new VW platform can be built from scratch to suit markets like the US.
And if Mahindra’s tenacity with the Roxor is anything to go by, they are fully focused on establishing themselves in the US market. What happens with Roxor in particular, though, will define the course Mahindra follows in the near future. But ultimately, Mahindra doesn’t seem to be pulling out of the US anytime soon.
Sources: Jeep, Mahindra, Volkswagen, Reuters