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Ford Rival Stellantis Will Nix Chrome Over Health Concerns

Once a common sight on new vehicles, chrome trim has been slowly disappearing in recent years as consumers gravitate toward more monochromatic looks, as well as black and even bronze appearance packages. Regardless, many automakers continue to sell vehicles with chrome trim, and that includes Ford, which even offers its own chrome appearance packages that add even more shiny bits to select models. However, it seems as if one of Ford’s chief rivals – Stellantis – is on a mission to kill off chrome once and for all.

2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Final Edition - Exterior 001 - Front Three Quarters

According to a new report from CNN, Stellantis has launched a new program that it calls “Death of Chrome,” which is being spearheaded by chief global designer Ralph Gilles. The reasoning behind this doesn’t stem from changing consumer preference, however, but rather, the dangers associated with the form of an element involved in the chrome-plating process – hexavalent chromium (chromium 6), which is an aggressive cancer-causing agent.

According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), “hexavalent chromium is a carcinogen that is the second most potent toxic air contaminant identified by the state” that is “500 times more toxic than diesel exhaust and has no known safe level of exposure.” Trouble is, those that complete the plating process are subjected to this dangerous chemical even as the industry has taken steps to reduce that exposure and contain the associated vapors, which is why California is working to ban the process of chrome plating using hexavalent chromium. For Stellantis, however, there isn’t a suitable alternative to chrome as of yet, though it is looking into different ways to replace it.

“Sometimes people go and personally convert their cars to blackout packages,” Gilles said. “Sometimes you don’t want a very holistic, black and white type of contrast. Sometimes a tonal contrast is even more attractive. So we’re using bronzes and silvers and graphites where chrome used to be, to create that offset. Chrome peaked in the ’50s with the big American land yachts and stuff with giant chrome bumpers and giant chrome grills. They couldn’t use enough chrome. They threw as much chrome as they could at it, and we’ve been weaning ourselves from it.”

We’ll have more on the future of chrome plating soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Jeff

    Leave it to CARB for more of their BS. Can’t wait until the time they find something wrong with EV’s.

    Reply
  2. John

    Oh man, Boomers aren’t going to be happy about losing their chrome.

    Reply
    1. Mike

      “You would be correct,” said this 71 year-old Boomer.

      Reply
      1. John

        Yes sir. By the way, I’m not hating on you, just stating what I’ve observed, lol.

        Reply
        1. Mike

          Not a bit of hate detected. Certainly not a fan of the stealth and blackout packages. That’s just me.

          Reply
    2. Sam

      Based off the article boomers should be dead of cancer from all the chrome.

      Reply
  3. Mf

    To be fair, Hex Chrome is already well known as a very hazardous substance, and it’s use in other industries is either banned or highly discouraged.

    That said, good, I hate chrome.

    Reply
    1. Sam

      So if someone dislikes something that means its good if someone actively tries to ban it? I think i know what generation you are from.

      Reply
      1. Mf

        No, .just saying that it’s widely.known that Hex Chrome.is really bad stuff, and that I don’t like chrome somindont really care.

        More like a “you shouldn’t be surprised” and “I don’t really care either way”.

        I’m sure they’ll come.out with a high polished aluminum trim or something like that to replace it anyways. To be totally honest, I’m surprised they’re doing any actual chrome using hex chrome and aren’t 100% pvd chrome.

        Reply
  4. Keith

    Stellantis is on a losing streak.
    Shedding chrome will only make it worse

    Reply
  5. Zeek

    As a boomer , we used to say “ if it don’t go, Crome it “

    Reply
  6. FlRob

    It’s the only thing that makes the Ram as attractive as it is. I’m not a boomer but I still love chrome, just not giant chrome pieces like the 50’s. I wouldn’t buy a truck without chrome bumpers and at least a grill outlined in chrome.

    Reply
  7. Jess T

    Chrome is starting to look dated anyway. GM was on this 35 years ago, take a look at a 1990 Chev Beretta or Corsica, most were already chromeless at that time

    Reply
  8. carl

    Look at some of those non-chrome bumpers when they are over 5 yr old. They are very rusty in the salt belt states.

    Reply
  9. Dave

    It’s cheaper to black out the trim on a vehicle. That’s why stalantis is poo pooing the Chrome. Don’t let them fool you. It’s cost cutting that all. A blacked out truck looks cheap. That’s the truth. Bright trim is classy.

    Reply
  10. Andrew

    Most chrome isn’t chrome anyway. Wheels are Chrome-like PVD, trim is plastic chrome like; it will mostly affect running boards, bumpers, and exhaust tips.

    Reply
    1. Mf

      Yeah I’m honestly surprised they have any actual hex chrome.plating going on still and they’re not totally pvd.

      Reply
  11. Plains States Patriots

    Oh, FF’sS!

    Did you whiners stage riots (sorry……I meant ‘peaceful protests’) when lead was removed from paint and fuel, too? Just another reason for you people to fly flags upside down.

    Reach higher. You’ll feel better.

    Reply

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