Fade To Black? Chrysler's Most Popular SUVs To Go Colorblind For A Few Months

Henry Ford once famously stated any Model T buyer can have a car painted any color he wants... so long as it is black. Fast-forward a century and Ford's long-time competitor, Chrysler, is telling a similar tale to potential buyers of new Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees. Blame an extensive equipment update at Chryco's Jefferson North Assembly Plant for restricting new SUVs to white, gray, silver or black paint jobs.

According to a recent post at Allpar.com that was widely disseminated by Larry P. Vellequette at Automotive News, the Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit won't have the paint shop upgrades ready until “at least February” of 2015. This distressing news comes on top of a previously announced shutdown of the plant as a whole from December 22nd to January 12th. Slag Chrysler and Detroit all you like but 38,241 vehicles were produced at the Jefferson North Assembly plant in October of 2014, a 20% increase from last year.

Sales stats paint (sorry) an interesting picture that's actually greyer and gloomier than one might at first think. White is most popular vehicle color in North America this year according to automotive paintmaker PPG, with black, gray and silver following closely behind in the two, three and four spots. All told, 72% of all vehicles sold in 2014 were painted in one of those four colors. More specifically to Chrysler's issues, a mere 19% of Jeep Grand Cherokees and just 8% of Dodge Durangos on dealer lots are painted in a non-greyscale hue.

This means for the next few months, Grand Cherokee buyers hoping for a tan, brown, red, blue or “maximum steel” (sort of a blackish blue) vehicle will have to hope there's one of that shade – and optioned to their preference – sitting on a dealer's lot. Ditto for Dodge Durango fans leaning towards a blue, tan, bright red, dark red, green and maximum steel vehicle.

Potential buyers of the non-greyscale preference should be aware only about 19 percent of nearly 24,500 unsold 2015 Grand Cherokees listed on Jeep.com are painted a non-greyscale hue, while just over 8 percent of the 719 unsold Durangos listed nationwide on Dodge.com are painted a color other than white, gray, silver or black.

The bottom line: if you thought the current crop of cars and SUVs was looking more colorless than usual, you thought right. As far as vehicle buyers are concerned, they can thank Chrysler for leaving a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking this year... and the last time we checked, coal is black. (via The Truth About Cars and AS.C)