August 12, 2003
Avanti/Studebaker agrees to make changes to Hummer look-a-like
Villa Rica, Georgia – The dispute between Georgia-based independent automaker Avanti Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp. over the design of Avanti’s Studebaker XUV, has been settled out of court. Avanti has agreed to make styling changes to its XUV.
The story began when Avanti’s Studebaker XUV (for “Xtreme Utility Vehicle”) was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show last February. A day after the XUV was introduced, GM took legal action, stating that the vehicle looked too similar to the popular Hummer H2 and would confuse the car-buying public.
The Detroit automaker then sought to have Avanti remove the XUV from the event, but Auto Show officials refused, leading GM to the courts for injunctions to not only keep Avanti from displaying the XUV at the Chicago show, but to stop Avanti from displaying it at any auto show. They were twice denied action, and a June court date was set for GM’s subsequent lawsuit to block Avanti’s manufacture of the Studebaker XUV altogether.
The recent settlement between the two auto builders will result in some minor alterations to the XUV’s design. Among the changes are a larger slant to the windshield and A-pillar, the removal of hood latches and vents, the addition of vent windows in the rear side doors, larger side windows, and a smaller luggage rack (a larger version will be available as a dealer option). The rear tailgate will open from the bottom, and the rear window will roll down into the tailgate.
Construction on the vehicle is scheduled to begin this fall, with first deliveries near year’s end.
The XUV, offered with a five-speed transmission, measures 80 inches wide, 79.6 inches tall and 215.5 inches long, with a 134-inch wheelbase and a curb weight of 6,035 lbs. Buyers may choose either a 325-horsepower, 6.0-litre turbo-diesel V8 or a 310-hp, 6.8-litre V10 which may be equipped with an optional supercharger, raising the engine rating to 425 hp.
The price of the XUV starts at approximately U.S.$75,000.
Avanti is the largest independent automaker in the United States. Its web-site is www.avantimotors.com