They are a popular luxury-car option and wonderfully profitable for automakers and suppliers, but chrome-plated aluminum wheels may not be quite the cash cow some suppliers and OEMs think, warns Salomon Brothers auto analyst Jack Kirnan. Chrome-plated wheels "are targeted at high-end passenger cars, the weakest segment of the market," he points out, adding that affordability problems may also curb their growth: a set of four can add $2,000 to a car's sticker. Other sources point out that lower-cost alternatives, such as shiny plastic wheel covers that look like chrome, may also deflate sales of the real thing.