Public Takes a Shine to Chrome

A recent survey reflects a bright future for chromium plating in the automotive industry.

A recent survey reflects a bright future for chromium plating in the automotive industry. The survey found that consumers prefer the aesthetic value of chrome. Well, I know I do. And former Products Finishing editor and publisher, Jerry Poll, does as well. He has a bumper sticker proclaiming I "heart" Chrome.

The survey was conducted by EPIC/MRA and sponsored by John Bailey & Associates Inc. According to EPIC/MRA vice president Ed Sarpolus, "Any company considering dropping chrome from vehicle design should anticipate a four to 10 pct drop in sales."

Fifty-six percent of surveyed consumers also indicate that chrome enhances vehicle appearance by adding a unique, luxurious and expensive quality. As I walked the floor of the Detroit Auto Show, I found this to be particularly true for the new Lexus Q45. It is not heavy with chrome trim, however what is there is just enough to give it class and style.

A panel discussion of bright chrome on automobiles was held at the Detroit Auto Show. Panelists included automotive industry analysts, suppliers and research consultants. Analysts noted that chrome is seen as "jewelry," a way to decorate the vehicle. Fifty-eight percent of men and 53 percent of women own a chrome-adorned vehicle. However, many engineers and designers do not understand chrome's possibilities. Although, those under 25 years of age have a greater acceptance of chrome. A market study by EPIC/MRA forecasted consumer desire for bright parts on vehicles will be strong well into the year 2010.

The survey was the result of a random phone poll of 565 consumers, 18 years or older, conducted in Michigan during December 1997.

To promote the use of chrome by designers and engineers, industry has formed the Automotive Bright Products Association. Presently there are 10 companies in the Association, which includes platers and chemical suppliers. Twenty companies have expressed interest in the organization, which was founded the first week of December 1997. If you are interested in finding out more about the Automotive Bright Products Association, contact John Bailey & Associates at 248-641-3880; fax: 248-641-1479.