Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler plotting “death of chrome” because it’s toxic

  • Stellantis, parent company of Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler, is done with chrome
  • Walking away from chrome is a health-related decision, according to design boss Ralph Gilles
  • VW’s making a similar move, and views light as the new chrome

Stellantis has declared the “death of chrome” over environmental concerns and concerns over the health of workers who produce the metallic trim, design boss Ralph Gilles said in a recent interview with CNN.

Hexavalent chromium, the form of the element chromium used in chrome plating, is a carcinogen and the “second most potent toxic air contaminant identified by the state,” the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the agency responsible for California’s emissions regulations, said in a statement to CNN. Chrome-plated parts are not inherently dangerous, but the plating process risks releasing hexavalent chromium vapor into the atmosphere or exposing workers.

2024 Jeep Wagoneer S

2024 Jeep Wagoneer S

Methods are in place to minimize human exposure to hexavalent chromium; the National Association for Surface Finishing trade group told CNN, as well as that the plating industry “has achieved an approximately 99.9% reduction in hexavalent chromium air emissions since 1995.” But California is now looking to ban chrome plating using the material, according to the report.

Stellantis is also looking at alternatives. The Jeep Wagoneer S electric SUV will not be available with chrome at all, and that will also be the case for other future Stellantis models, Gilles told CNN.

2024 Jeep Wagoneer S

2024 Jeep Wagoneer S

The initial Launch Edition of the Wagoneer S features darkened trim, which is one possible alternative to chrome, Gilles said, noting the current popularity of blackout exterior trim packages. The contrast offered by materials with a duller finish, such as satin steel, or a different color could also be attractive, Gilles said, pointing to bronze, silver, or graphite-colored trim pieces as additional chrome alternatives.

The Volkswagen Group is also planning to curtail the use of chrome, the automaker said in a statement to CNN, but not just with different materials. The automaker said it’s also “using light as the new chrome.” Recent VW models sport light-up badges that outshine chrome—literally.

BMW Group’s Mini brand has also eliminated chrome on its latest lineup, both for vehicle exteriors and cabins.

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