If you’ve ever seen a Mahindra Thar, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a clone of the Jeep CJ-7, because that’s what it is. Mahindra has a license from Jeep to build and sell the Thar in India, and a relationship between the companies has existed for decades. What Mahindra does not have, however, is a license to sell the Thar in the United States. To maneuver around that legal speed bump, Mahindra changed the grille, called it the Roxor, and built a plant in Michigan to assemble them and distribute them for sale in the United States. Unsurprisingly, Jeep wasn’t too keen on Mahindra selling Roxors in the United States, even if they weren’t street legal and were competing in the side-by-side market, rather than the passenger vehicle market.
FCA, Jeep’s parent company, filed a claim seeking to end Roxor sales. It took several months, but on June 11 that ruling came down in FCA’s favor. Mahindra can no longer sell the Roxor.
Or maybe will anyway? According to Automotive News Mahindra claims that its newest model looks different and should, therefore, be exempt from the exclusion order to cease and desist.
You can read the United States International Trade Commission’s ruling on the matter here, if you possess fluency in legalese. You can also visit the Roxor website and judge for yourself if the refreshed model looks remarkably different. (Spoiler: It does not.)
We’re not sure if yearly grille changes will suffice to keep the Roxor on the market and justify Mahindra’s continued presence in court battling Jeep, or if the brand plans a more thorough refresh of the CJ-based design. What’s for certain is that even though Jeep has a solid case for protecting its trademark, as far as Mahindra is concerned, the fight is not over.