DETROIT -- Chrysler Group will stop production of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango for three weeks starting in December to upgrade the paint shop at the vehicles' assembly plant here.
The revised shop will be able to paint the vehicles with more complex exterior colors.
In the meantime, the automaker has suspended dealer orders of the Grand Cherokee and Durango in any color other than black, white, silver or gray until at least February. Those colors will be the easiest to handle by the revised paint shop after it resumes production, the company said.
The shutdown is to begin Dec. 22. It will be the first time the three-shift Jefferson North Assembly plant has been idled for such an extended period since Chrysler's 2009 bankruptcy.
Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson didn't share the details of the specific upgrades at the paint shop. The issue was first reported on the website allpar.com, which reports Chrysler news.
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 also has 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 jeep.com were painted a color other than black, white, gray or silver.
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 dodge.com were painted a color other than black, white, gray or silver.
Through October, sales of the Grand Cherokee -- Jeep's best-selling vehicle this year -- were up 6 percent in the U.S. to 151,303. Dodge Durango sales were also up 6 percent in the U.S. to 52,866 through October.
Chrysler had a 90-day supply of unsold Durangos on Nov. 1 and a 79-day supply of unsold Grand Cherokees.