Stellantis phasing out chrome trim, starting with the Jeep Wagoneer S

Francesco Armenio
Stellantis has decided to no longer use chrome on upcoming models, including the Jeep Wagoneer S.
Jeep Wagoneer S 2024

Stellantis has committed to eliminating chrome on all of its new models. Within the group, this plan has been nicknamed “Death of Chrome,” as stated by the company’s global head of design, Ralph Gilles. The group’s vehicles, including its latest Jeep Wagoneer S model, will feature emblems and finishes that may not have the mirror shine of chrome, but customers will appreciate them even more, Gilles promises.

Stellantis has decided to completely abandon chrome, starting with the new Jeep Wagoneer S

Jeep Wagoneer S 2024

This initiative by Stellantis is a response to the lesser-known dark side of chrome plating. Hexavalent chromium, or “chromium 6,” the form of the chromium element involved in the plating process, is an aggressive carcinogen, according to government regulatory authorities in the United States and Europe.

“Hexavalent chromium is a carcinogen that is the second most potent toxic air contaminant identified by the state,” said the California Air Resources Board. “It is 500 times more toxic than diesel exhaust and has no safe level of exposure.”

This does not mean that the chrome parts of cars or motorcycles are dangerous. The metallic form of chromium that gives the mirror shine to a car brand’s logo or trim is perfectly safe. The risk to human health comes during the electroplating process, regulators say, when the hexavalent chromium used can come into contact with workers or be released into the atmosphere. Hence, Stellantis’ decision to stop using it.

Jeep Wagoneer S

Hexavalent chromium is used in many different industries besides automotive. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is also used to increase the hardness of steel and as an anticorrosive agent added to paints. In 2019, it was discovered that the green sludge oozing onto a highway near Detroit was hexavalent chromium leaking from a nearby company. In that case, a Michigan environmental agency cleaned up the toxic material.