Mini Jeep Street Legal

Somewhere between a 12V children’s ride-on truck and a Jeep Wrangler in appearance, the Mahindra Roxor functions more like an off-road sport vehicle, similar to the Polaris ATV or a side-by-side utility vehicle. This compact Jeep has gained a reputation for its enjoyable driving experience, offering exceptional control and maneuverability.

However, the future of Mahindra in the United States remains uncertain. The comparison to the Wrangler could potentially cause issues for the CJ Jeep-inspired Roxor. While Mahindra, based in India, asserts that it has the right to produce and sell in America, Fiat Chrysler has a different perspective.

The Mahindra Jeep Roxor

The Mahindra Jeep Roxor is often described as a mini Jeep Wrangler, even though Mahindra Ltd does not make this comparison due to an ongoing lawsuit from Jeep’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler.

Regardless, the Mahindra Roxor has been making waves in the off-road scene with its Jeep-like appearance. However, the similarities end at its appearance. The Roxor is equipped with a smaller powertrain featuring a 2.5-liter direct-injected turbo-diesel engine. Despite its size, Mahindra manages to achieve 35 MPG and a 350-mile tank range with this little workhorse engine.

The Roxor is available in both automatic and manual transmission. The maximum speed of the Roxor is artificially limited to either 45 or 55 MPH, depending on the model year. In the American market, Mahindra has included additional roll-protection functions, ensuring the Roxor is suitable for demanding off-roading experiences.

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Mahindra Jeep in the USA

The future of the Mahindra Jeep in North America is not yet secure, especially considering Mahindra’s previous failures in introducing products to the U.S. market.

However, it appears that the Indian manufacturer has learned from its past mistakes. When Mahindra attempted to introduce a line of budget pickup trucks to the American market, they faced failed emissions requirements, broken deals with auto sellers, and even dealership lawsuits. This time, Mahindra has hired nearly 400 new employees, including Rick Haas, a former executive for Tesla and Ford, as the project lead.

Additionally, Mahindra has cleverly avoided direct competition with established automakers in America by positioning the Mahindra Roxor as an off-road recreational vehicle rather than a production road car. This approach circumvents the challenge of oversaturation in the American automotive market, which already has over 40 brands and 300 model-lines with established market shares.

However, Fiat Chrysler sees the Jeep Wrangler as Mahindra’s primary competitor in America due to the style and usage overlap between these two off-road sport utility vehicles. In response to Mahindra’s plans to enter the American market, Fiat Chrysler has filed a lawsuit against the Indian automaker, primarily focusing on the Jeep-style grille. It is important to note that this is not a patent infringement suit, but a “trade-dress” suit, which is more challenging to prove and enforce.

Despite the ongoing lawsuit, Mahindra remains undeterred. The company has purchased a manufacturing plant just outside of Detroit, Michigan, and currently produces Roxors there. Interested customers can already purchase the Mahindra Roxor mini Jeep. Furthermore, Mahindra plans to increase its investment in the United States to $600 million by 2020, emphasizing their confidence in the American market.

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Whether these actions are positive or negative remains uncertain. Mahindra does not dispute the influence of the Jeep Willys CJ design on the Roxor but claims to have received permission from Fiat Chrysler Automotive to enter the United States as early as 2009. Mahindra obtained permission to use the Jeep trademarked design in India over half a century ago, in 1947, where it is legal for road use.

Is Mahindra Jeep Street Legal?

No, the Mahindra Roxor is not street legal in the United States. This product cannot be driven on roadways, which means it must be transported to an off-roading destination before use. This distinction sets it apart from the Jeep Wrangler. However, FCA is still concerned that many off-roading enthusiasts may purchase the cheaper and fun Roxor mini-Jeep and rely on another vehicle for regular commuting.

Mahindra Jeep Price

The Mahindra Roxor mini Jeep is currently available for purchase at outlets across the U.S. and Canada. Prices for various models start around $15,000.

For now, there seems to be ample time to purchase a Mahindra Roxor. The lawsuit, like most legal proceedings, is progressing slowly. Even if FCA manages to prevent the Roxor from being sold in America, it should still be possible to find a used Roxor from private sellers.

Note: Find more information about the Mahindra Roxor and other exciting products from Garrity Traina at Garrity Traina.