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Chryslers suspends availability of some colors


DETROIT -- Plans to upgrade a paint shop at a Chrysler Group factory in Detroit will leave the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango colorblind for a couple months.

The automaker informed dealers it is suspending orders of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango in any color other than black, white, silver or gray until at least February.

The cause: the paint shop at the company’s super-busy Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit is being upgraded to allow for more complex colors.

However, it’s not just colors like cashmere and deep auburn being impacted. More importantly for dealers, the upgrade to the paint shop will mean that the plant will suspend production for three weeks beginning Dec. 22 -- the first time that the factory has shut down for such an extended period in several years.

Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson didn’t share the details of the specific upgrades being put into the Jefferson North paint shop, other than to say they will mirror those installed earlier at its Warren Truck and Sterling Heights assembly plants in Michigan. The issue was first reported on the Chrysler-centric website

The new painting process will improve the way the Grand Cherokee and Durango are painted, and ultimately allow for more colors, Tinson said. Once the new paint process is in place, additional colors will slowly become available.

In addition to the four grayscale shades, the Grand Cherokee has also been available in tan, brown, red, blue and a blackish blue called maximum steel, depending on the trim level. Only about 19 percent of the nearly 24,500 unsold 2015 Grand Cherokees listed on were painted a color other than black, white, grey or silver.

Likewise, the Durango has been available in blue, tan, bright red, dark red, green and maximum steel, along with the traditional grayscale palette. Just over 8 percent of the 719 unsold Durangos listed nationwide on were painted a color other than black, white, grey or silver.

Through October, sales of the Grand Cherokee -- Jeep’s best selling vehicle -- are up 6 percent this year in the U.S. to 151,303. Dodge Durango sales are also up 6 percent in the U.S. to 52,886 through the first 10 months of the year.

Chrysler had a 90-day supply of unsold Durangos on hand Nov. 3, and a 79-day supply of unsold Grand Cherokees on hand.
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