Welcome to Thomas Insights — every day, we publish the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in industry. Sign up here to get the day’s top stories delivered straight to your inbox. Is chrome’s future less than bright? Will anodized aluminum, which some argue is just as brilliant as chrome, take its place? Here’s the latest in automotive finishing. Automotive finishing trends are driven by the economy and the environment. While economic pressures are forcing shops to find cost-effective finishing processes, environmental concerns are pushing potentially harmful coatings such as hexavalent chromium (hex chrome) out and leaving an open door for chrome alternatives such as anodized aluminum. Hex chrome’s decades-long job as a corrosion inhibitor in the automotive industry is in jeopardy. Its days became numbered when the European Union issued a directive banning its use as a conversion coating on all cars in all EU nations, starting in July of 2003. The directive specified that after July 1, 2003, vehicles cannot be manufactured with over two grams of hex chrome. In response, global companies, such as General Motors and Ford,...