When we last met the Mahindra Roxor, it was roughly a year ago at the 2019 North American International Auto Show. The Roxor was created to help give buyers on the open range a very interesting alternative to traditional UTV and side by side offerings. The Roxor also received attention for its exterior styling which was reminiscent of a vintage Jeep CJ-3, and helped bring newfound exposure to Mahindra. This included the attention of a certain automotive giant in Auburn Hills, with FCA promptly taking Mahindra to court over copyright infringement. After a long legal battle, FCA has emerged the victor, with Mahindra no longer being allowed to sell the Roxor in the U.S.
The ruling came from the International Trade Commission which upheld a prior judicial order decreed in November of 2019 that ruled the tiny Indian off-roader violated FCA’s trademark on the look of the Jeep Wrangler, but did not cover the Roxor’s front grille. This was in despite of Mahindra claiming that it had the right to do so due to an old agreement with Jeep’s prior owner, the defunct AMC corporation. In addition to stopping U.S. sales of the Roxor, the ITC also decreed that Mahindra is not allowed to import parts and completed Roxors into the country. This is a big blow for Mahindra considering that the company would assemble the Roxor in Michigan, but also assemble all the crucial performance components abroad. These parts are then shipped to the U.S. where they are integrated into the existing bodywork. Mahindra was willing to make changes after the initial legal firestorm began, with the firm announcing in January that it had made some design changes to try and resolve FCA’s concerns.
This included reworked grille openings that were decidedly more oval shaped, as well as a body color surround piece. The Indian firm was also open to make more styling changes, but the ITC’s decision could force the company to go back to the drawing board again, and develop a completely new canvas for the model. That could delay any potential return of the Roxor, but with Mahindra still keen on expanding its presence in the U.S. market, the Roxor could still come back for a second crack at the U.S.
If it does, look for it to continue to appeal to UTV buyers. The original Roxor and the Jeep Wrangler were never truly competitors for each other to begin with, the Roxor is not road legal, and is powered by a 45 horsepower 2.5 liter diesel engine. The drivetrain is a time warp to yesteryear, with a five speed manual, a simplistic two speed transfer case, and part time four wheel drive. The Roxor also has a top speed of 45 mph which is great for treks off the beaten path, but not for freeway jaunts to the grocery store. We still look forward to seeing what Mahindra chooses to do next, and whether the Roxor nameplate will bounce back from this setback.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.