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Avanti XUV Will Change To Please GM - Sorry Billy

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. August 8, 2003; Reuters reported that upstart automaker Avanti Motor Corp. has agreed to change the design of a large sport utility vehicle that General Motors Corp. claimed in a lawsuit was a "knock-off" of its popular Hummer H2 SUV, the two companies said on Friday.

Avanti, which sells about 150 of its handcrafted cars a year, reached an out-of-court settlement with GM to make some minor changes to the Studebaker XUV, reviving the Studebaker name four decades after it went out of business.

Avanti agreed to change the design so it looks more like the 1963 Studebaker Wagonaire than the Hummer H2, GM said.

"There are going to be some changes made in the car's design, but we're talking really minor alterations," said Don Collignon, a spokesman for Avanti.

He said the Studebaker XUV (short for "Xtreme Utility Vehicle") will have a more streamlined look rather than the boxy Hummer H2, but it will still be a massive 215.5 inches long.

Among the changes are a steeper slant to the windshield and front pillar, the removal of hood latches and vents and larger side windows, Avanti said. Avanti had planned to make some of those changes regardless of the lawsuit, Collignon said.

Production of the Studebaker XUV is expected to begin in the fall at Avanti's plant in Villa Rica, Georgia. The SUVs will have a starting price of around $75,000 and Avanti expects to sell about 1,000 a year, Collignon said.

"GM has protectable trademark rights in the configuration of the Hummer H2, and we will protect those rights against anybody who attempts to infringe GM's valuable intellectual property." GM trademark attorney Chuck Ellerbrock said in a statement.

The Avanti lawsuit wasn't GM's first legal entanglement involving Hummer design.

Snide's Remarks: Let's see first Jeep Sues GM because the H2 Grill has 7 spokes, and then GM sues Avanti because they say the XUV prototype looks too much like the Hummer, so I ask, will Jeep sue Avanti just because they can? If suing another car maker because it looks like another maker's car was a sport in Japan, their would be no Japanese designed cars being built.