Search Cars for Sale

The Chrome Trunk Strip Has Taken Over Car Design

Good people of Oversteer, I think the day has come where we must concede that the entirety of automotive design has now been taken over by the chrome trunk strip. I’m serious. If you look at virtually every modern car, what you will discover is they all have different front ends, and different sides, and different wheels, and different interiors, and then they all have the chrome trunk strip. Every single car.

I noticed this fad recently when I was driving on the highway behind three vehicles in three separate lanes going about the same speed. I looked at each of the vehicles, all created by different automakers, and they had one major thing in common: the chrome trunk strip. And then I started really looking for it, and now I see it everywhere. You can’t un-see it. It’s like one of those eye puzzle drawings where it looks like a bird but then someone tells you it’s also a forklift and you then can never see the bird again without seeing the forklift.

Interestingly, it isn’t limited to one vehicle class — though I do see it show up more on “mainstream” cars than luxury models. But it’s on sedans, it’s on coupes, it’s on compacts, it’s on full-size cars, it’s on SUVs and crossovers and minivans. The chrome strip is more common, at this point, than “Call Me Maybe” was during its heyday.

My question is: Why has this happened? Why have automakers decided the chrome trunk strip is a necessary accessory in vehicle design? Was this a collective decision? Was the chrome strip company giving out massive discounts, and automakers said, “Well, this is better than adding more sheetmetal!“?

Either way, the chrome strip appears to be here, and I suspect it’ll be here for quite some time. The car in the image above is just one example — but the next time you drive around, take note of all the chrome strips. You’ll be surprised to find the roads are invaded by the chrome strips. Find a car for sale

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

I Slept in a Garden Shed During Monterey Car Week
The Bentley Continental SuperSports Is the $310,000 Bentley Hellcat
Here’s a Look at the Most Expensive Cadillac From 40 Years Ago


Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

Sign up for Autotrader newsletters

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Email Address 

By subscribing, you agree to our privacy policy

Where You Can Buy

Loading dealers...


  1. The chrome strip across the trunk of the old, lousy, previous generation Impala is at the perfect angle to make some really astounding reflections of clouds, buildings, and city lights.  Just a thought.

  2. Now count how many modern cars have that flattened strip of sheet metal surrounding the wheel well. Robert Cumberford of Automobile Magazine mentioned the tyranny of this crappy styling trend in the early 2000s and it’s still with us. I think you’ll have to put up with chrome strips on trunks for a while longer….

  3. What i hate is all the fake chrome plastic strips. Are all on 4 door dorkmobiles !   Love to see some sleek hatchback coupes back on the roads plastic chrome strip or not !

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: First Look

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid jumps to the head of the hybrid class.

Best Truck Deals: June 2022

These are the best deals on trucks for the month of June 2022.

Here Are 5 Great 1980s Performance Cars for Sale on Autotrader

Looking for a fun 1980s car? Look no further.

Search By Style

More Articles Like This