Jeep's 2012 yellow needs to go back to the committee

Jeep has violated my trust.

I recently drove the 2012 Jeep Wrangler on and off the road in Oregon.

An all-new V6 and 5-speed automatic transmission for 2012 have conspired with 2011's suspension improvements to transform the new Wrangler into a remarkably civilized tourer that is still capable of going places off-road that intimidate most other four-wheelers.

Obviously, none of that is what upsets me.

What does irk me is Jeep eliminating yellow as a 2012 Wrangler exterior color.

After 70 years, Jeep finally engineered a Wrangler I would buy, then discontinued the one color I would buy it in.

There will be a yellow for 2012, but it's school-bus yellow. It's a hideous hue that I wouldn't be seen in, particularly for the $31,000-plus needed to buy the Wrangler Rubicon that I lust after.

2012 Jeep Wrangler

In a fit of whimsy, Jeep calls the new color Dozer Yellow. (See the first photo at right.)

It is to yellow what the accordion is to chamber music.

I'd be afraid I would come out of a restaurant some night to find a prankster had stenciled "Greenville County Schools" on the flank of my new Jeep.

What was wrong with the sunshine yellow offered on the 2011? (Take a look at the second photo.)

I wondered how a group of reasonable people could look at a Wrangler painted Dozer Yellow, nod their heads in approval and sign off on it.

I brought that question up at dinner on the final night of the company-sponsored driving event for automotive journalists. Sitting across from me was Wrangler's chief engineer.

2011 Jeep Wrangler

Bravely admitting he was a part of the color committee ultimately responsible for actually putting the paint on the cars, he gamely defended the choice.

I asked who all had signed off on Wrangler's colors and was told that, although even the CEO of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, ultimately would review them, it's the Jeep brand CEO who makes the final call.

He added that everyone from assorted Jeep dealers to marketing people who have seen the new yellow have had nothing but praise for it.

I remain dubious. As I recall, all the major players at Pontiac cheered the pug-ugly Aztek when it was introduced.

More Kool-Aid, please.

I guess I will have to pin my Wrangler-owning hopes on the yet-to-be-revealed color called Crush. It's some sort of orange that will go into Wrangler production in the fall.

I just hope it's really orange.

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