Bipolar plates (BPPs) made of stainless steels preferred in PEM Fuel Cell (PEMFC) applications due to their high electrical conductivity, low material and production costs, low weight and mechanical strength. However, their corrosion resistances are not at desired levels for real PEMFC working conditions. To overcome this issue, different coating types are suggested. In this study, corrosion resistance behavior of 51 mu m-thick SS316L metallic bipolar plates that were coated with the three different PVD coatings (TiN, CrN, and zrN) at three thicknesses (0.1 mu m, 0.5 mu m, and 1 mu m), and then were formed with two different manufacturing processes (stamping and hydroforming) investigated. Potentiodynamic and potentiostatic corrosion experiments were performed on the coated-formed SS3161 plates, and coated-unformed blanks. Corrosion test results indicate that 1 mu m ZrN coating demonstrated the highest corrosion resistance among the tested cases regardless of the manufacturing process employed. Moreover, hydroformed bipolar plates exhibited higher corrosion resistance than the stamped BPPs, but lower than the blank samples. Hardness measurements were also performed on the coated samples and resulted in higher corrosion resistance for harder surfaces. Copyright (C) 2011, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.