Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler to phase out chrome: alternative finishes already in place

Francesco Armenio
Stellantis’ American brands will no longer use chrome plating on their vehicles, as it puts workers at risk.
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Stellantis has announced that it will no longer use chrome due to environmental concerns and health risks for workers involved in the production of metallic finishes. Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler will be part of this initiative committed to eliminating the harmful treatment.

Stellantis announces it will no longer use chrome finishes

Ralph Gilles, head of FCA Design, had declared this in a recent interview with CNN, speaking about “Death Chrome.” Hexavalent chromium, which is used in chrome plating, is reportedly a carcinogen and represents the “second most potent toxic air contaminant identified by the State,” according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This is the agency that regulates emissions in California, and according to CARB, the material should be banned.

The parts treated with chrome, or chrome-plated, are not dangerous, but it’s the plating process that can release hexavalent chromium vapors that can be very harmful. What is released into the atmosphere would be highly polluting and would expose workers to significant risks.

Methods already exist to minimize human exposure to hexavalent chromium, which is excellent news for producing chrome plating while safeguarding the environment and workers. The National Association for Surface Finishing trade group, for example, told CNN that the electroplating industry has managed to reduce atmospheric emissions of hexavalent chromium by 99.9% since 1995. Meanwhile, in California, efforts are being made to ban the use of chrome plating with this material.

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Stellantis is exploring viable alternatives. The electric Jeep Wagoneer S SUV, for example, will be available without chrome plating. This approach will be extended to other future Stellantis models, as Gilles said. The contrast offered by materials with a more matte finish, such as satin steel, could be interesting, Gilles added. He also indicated parts with bronze, silver, or graphite finishes as further alternatives.