No more chrome plated hardware

Stellantis announced that they are phasing out chromium plated hardware on all models. The AP article I read didn’t say when it will take place, but in the next few years, as soon as they have replacements. Certainly the black-out look is part of it, and the Stellantis manager interviewed did not say what else they might use. I’ve seen dyed anodized aluminum (e.g.,gold trim) and dyed anodic coatings can come in many colors. Undyed aluminum isn’t nearly as bright as chrome and stainless steel is expensive. The problem is air and water pollution, which is normally mitigated with pollution abatement equipment and proper disposal, but unplanned releases occur. Chrome 6 is the ion used and it is highly carcinogenic.

There’s a bunch of angles converging to doom chrome plating. Platers have found a way to meet both RoHS and REACH compliance by producing thinner coatings- it goes by % weight. Hexavalent Chromium is known carcinogen as you pointed out. The other issue concerns PFAS- the forever chemicals that are of huge concern. 3M is phasing out all production of PFAS this year. Others will certainly follow. PFAS are used in the containment systems for Chromium baths. PFAS are being found everywhere in nature. They were actually spraying farm fields with sewage treatment sludge that was unknowingly contaminated with PFAS. Now the farmland is poisoned…

In business, we are consistently shifting to new and less toxic types of coatings for metal and plastic. RoHS and REACH compliance is a huge effort…


This’ll be an issue for classic car restorations.

I have 3 cars on property that don’t have any chrome on them now anyway, and I am torn on blacking out all the chrome on my hot rod… I didn’t think chrome was that big of a thing anymore except for trucks and higher end vehicles much anymore…
So this will not affect me in the least…

Well, you can always have it professionally chrome painted. (not a spray can)
I have seen it done on some car shows and it looked like it came out pretty good. the only thing is I would think it could get scratched easily.

Cosmichrome | The Most Advanced Spray Chrome Paint System


How? This is only one automotive company (many brands), how does that affect the aftermarket world, and local chrome platers…

Unless I am missing something…??

I’m thinking this is signs of things to come. You’re right, not an immediate issue.

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Possible, I just don’t think many cars (not trucks) have all that much chrome on them anymore anyway, The flush mount glass might have been the slow death of chrome.?.? Hadn’t really thought about it before, just a thought, no prof…

That and plastic bumpers.

Isn’t much of the ‘chrome’ trim now plastic? And don’t they use aluminum to plate the plastic?

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The chrome plating process in general is probably nearing its end. The chemicals needed are going away and likely to become cost prohibitive if not regulated out of existence.

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Counting Cars featured it in the episode with a 62 Caddy flip where they did black chrome, the chemicals to do the chrome were about $1,800 to the shop after Ryan ran out of the first delivery. They did say it might not work in every situation but for the cost is really close.

I saw that episode, pretty neat stuff, IIRC the Caddy turned out very nice when done…

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How about nickel plating?

I doubt it. Aluminum can’t be plated onto a surface. Someone worked hard to do that many years ago and discovered anodizing. Since plastics aren’t electrically conductive, an electroless layer of copper or nickel is deposited first, then an electroplated decorative layer can be deposited. That’s actually how chrome plating works. Steel has a layer of copper deposited, then nickel, and finally a very thin layer of chromium to give it the bright shine.

I thought a bit more about it and there are two ways to put aluminum on a surface: hot dipping in molten aluminum and vapor deposition. The latter is basically a subcategory of the former.

“Commonly used in the manufacture of flashlight reflectors, vacuum metalizing is another way you can transform your plastic pieces into chrome-coated ones. With this method, your plastic parts have a base coat applied to them and then are exposed to a vapor cloud that is made out of aluminum. The vapor cloud bonds to the plastic part’s surface, leaving behind a shine that is similar to chrome in appearance.”

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Since most “chrome plating” today is actually some sort of plastic coating I wouldn’t lose any sleep over the loss.

OTOH, for Vintage cars, actual chrome plating has been disappearing for years, if only because the process is extremely polluting and toxic. What used to be a regular visit to the Replater where they would bath your parts in open baths of boiling toxic chemicals pretty much doesn’t exist today in the US and has been farmed out to other countries where costs and life is much cheaper.

When the BMC Mini was first introduced, it was purposely designed to have a no-frills austere appearance, no chrome. The business folks said “We’ll never be able to sell it!” So they put a chrome grill on. It apparently sold pretty good, but hard to say if the chrome grill was the reason.

A simple Google seach identified many chrome platers, cosmetic and industrial, in the USA.

Both of my former companies chrome plated piston rods for dampers or hydraulic cylinder rods in US plants. One received an award for how ecological the process was.

It is still being done in the US. It is expensive but available.

Thanks for that. I mentioned vapor deposition along with hot dip about four hours before your post.

My understanding is that there are various forms of chrome of which hexavalent chrome, the form used for “bright” plating, is carcinogenic and the non-carcinogenic forms tend to have a yellow cast.

More information is easily available on the net including the coming EU ban on hexavalent chrome on new cars, California’s future ban and Stellantis’ and Ford’s decision to end their use.