Avanti has bowed to pressure from General Motors and given its Studebaker XUV, which the automotive giant says strongly resembles its Hummer H2, a makeover.

Avanti has bowed to pressure from General Motors (GM) and given its Studebaker XUV, which the automotive giant says strongly resembles its Hummer H2, a makeover.


CARtoday.com reported in February that independent manufacturer Avanti had unveiled the 5,5-metre Studebaker XUV at the Chicago Motor Show. But GM immediately filed a lawsuit to stop Avanti from putting its XUV into production, claiming the new model was a "knock-off" of the Hummer H2.


"It is clear that Avanti Motor Corporation is attempting to profit from the enormous popularity that GM has developed in the wildly successful H2 by knocking off the H2," Charles Ellerbrock, a trademark lawyer for GM, said at the time.


"There will not be any confusion on the part of the car-buying public. Put both vehicles side by side, and there's no question that the Studebaker XUV is distinctly different," was Avanti chairman Michael Kelly's response.


Meanwhile, Avanti has reached an out-of-court settlement with GM to make some minor changes to the Studebaker XUV. The design will now look more streamlined than the boxy H2 and will bear a striking resemblance to the 1963 Studebaker Wagonaire, reported.


The redesign includes a steeper slant to the windshield and front pillar, the removal of hood latches and vents and larger side windows. However, some of the changes were made regardless of the lawsuit, an Avanti spokesman was quoted as saying.


Production of the Studebaker XUV is expected to begin in Villa Rica, Georgia, shortly. The SUVs will have a starting price of around R550 000 and Avanti expects to sell about 1 000 a year.