Any color, as long as it’s white: Jeep, Ram, and Dodge’s oddly pricey color options

Henry Ford famously said that buyers of the Model T could have any color they wanted, as long as it was black—because black paint was cheap and (mainly) because it dried quickly.

Today, if you want a Ford Bronco, you can get white, black, gray, red, green, or blue, all free even on the base model (though there is an $1,895 charge for bringing the car to your dealership, which is $200 more than Jeep charges).

pricey paint - Jeep, Dodge, Ram

At Dodge, black is the only free color on the Hornet, whether you get a base model or an R/T Plus at over $45,000. Every other color is $495 or $595. Dodge Challenger SXT buyers can get black, white, or red for free; most of the other colors are $95 extra, with four (Sublime, Go Mango, Sinamon Stick, and Octane Red) at $395.  Those prices apply to the priciest street-legal Challenger as well.

At Jeep, the colors cost more, and there is less choice. The base Compass reverses Henry Ford: white is free but any other color adds $495. The High Altitude is similar though it costs $11,000 more—white-and-black (two-tone) is free; the other options are silver and black, and red and black, and those are all, again, $495. Oddly, all-black costs more—$495 more—than white-and-black.

The Grand Wagoneer is the priciest Jeep ever , starting at $90,290. The Series III Obsidian starts at $112,785. On both versions, white-and-black is free—all other colors are $645. Black monotone is $645, just like the others.Ram paint colors and prices

It is odd that at Ram, where there is typically more metal to be painted, both white and red are free on the Ram 1500 Tradesman. There are eight color choices, and the colors are cheaper than on Dodges or Jeeps. On the most costly Ram 1500 (not including the TRX), we see almost the same situation—except that now there is a $795 option, Ivory White Tri-Coat Pearl Coat. This is an expensive paint for the factory, and it likely has a higher scrap rate, so the high price is understandable; but “Diamond Black” is $200 above white.

As for GM, which makes more big pickups than anyone: the Chevrolet Silverado has nine different colors. Black is free—so is white; and gray, and dark blue, and dark gray, and red. The only premium price is for Glacier Blue Metallic, at $395 (blue is a more problematic paint).

Ram adds $200 vs Chevrolet if you don’t want a white or blue pickup—but that’s downright cheap compared with getting an optional color on a Wrangler. It’s an odd way to drive up transaction prices, and it may well account for some of Jeep’s increasing inventories—even though Jeep is even now tossing rebates onto the hoods if its cars. Perhaps having more free paint choices would sell more Jeeps than rebates?

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