India-based SUV and truck manufacture Mahindra has recently acquired manufacturing interests in Detroit where it plans to assembly CKD kits initially exported from its home facility.
Mahindra holds a license to build Jeep CJ-inspired vehicles and still sells them in India as the Mahindra Thar. According to the business plan, Mahindra aspires to open its US innings with the US-version of the Thar called Roxor.
Even the thought of an orginal – rather retro-modern version of the orginal CJ is beginning to give shivers to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [FCA] Jeep brand team.
So much so, FCA has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission that if accepted could thwart Mahindra’s Roxor from entering the market.
The FCA argument is the Roxor’s “boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood” among the many similarities.
In its filing, FCA cited the Indian company’s “substantial foreign manufacturing capacity combined with its demonstrated intention to penetrate the United States market and harm FCA’s goodwill and business”.
While, the Roxor may looks like an old CJ Jeep, a key differentiation is that the Mahindra is not street legal. Instead, the Roxor competes in the side-by-side segment against vehicles from companies like Polaris and Yamaha. It comes with a 2.5-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder producing 62hp and modest 195Nm of torque. A five-speed manual and low-range transfer case will be offered. This setup only allows for a top speed of 72km/h. It also uses old-fashioned leaf-spring suspension and has solid axles at the front and rear.
Mahindra showcased the Roxor in March for the US market and now the project’s fate hinges on the Trade Commission’s decision.