Michigan Residents Squawk About Stinky Stellantis Plant

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

What’s that smell? According to some residents on Detroit’s east side, it’s the Mack assembly plant. The site of production for Jeep’s new three-row Grand Cherokee L and the recently introduced next-gen, two-row Grand Cherokee is rankling the noses of people who live in the vicinity, with some calling for the state’s enviro cops to hold Stellantis to some measure of accountability.

It’s the latest in a series of escalating actions by residents and their representatives, with a hotline phone number cropping up a couple of weeks ago followed by yesterday’s proposal that included a Stellantis-funded voluntary relocation effort and home repair program.

For its part, the company has received at least two notices about the issue from state environmental regulators, the most recent of which was parked on the desk of plant officials about two weeks ago. Prior to that, regulatory staff noted “persistent and objectionable” paint or solvent odors as part of a violation notice served in September. The more recent citation was related to “volatile organic compound emissions” noted as part of a state inspection.

A possible source of the issue is ducting at Mack’s new paint shop. Specifically, inspectors are said to have found emissions from that part of the plant weren’t being ducted to a regenerative thermal oxidizer, a piece of equipment that destroys potentially harmful chemicals from the air. Stellantis has hired an engineering firm (of its own choosing) to examine the problem, with a report promised within 90 days.

You probably know these “volatile organic compounds” better as VOCs, a term thrust into the American mind by incessant advertisements by vendors of house paint. The lack of these compounds reduces the presence of that freshly painted smell those of us who are a certain age remember with great clarity after walking into a new or renovated home. Problem is, that smell was also knocking us on our butts – which is why Detroiters living near Mack are concerned and upset.

Spox for Stellantis are on record as bleating the new Mack assembly employs thousands of people across three shifts and builds hundreds of machines each day. This contrasts with the former Mack engine plant which was a fraction of the size. We will point out there wouldn’t have been much, if any, painting in progress while manufacturing engines. Company suits then went on to say any increase in emissions at Mack would have been offset by pollution reductions at another Michigan facility, with Warren Truck Assembly being given as an example of the latter. This is surely of little comfort to residents within smelling distance of the Mack.

Residents have been holding protests in the area. There are also a couple of hotline bling options for reporting concerns about this particular problem, including one for Stellantis (833-310-2313) and the state’s pollution line (800-292-4706).

[Image: Stellantis]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.
  • Crown Seems like they cut some cylinders too.A three cylinder...where are they planning on selling that??
  • Slavuta "There’s also the problem of climate change, and the more intense weather that comes along with it"How could one even write something like this? We don't have more intense weather. We have better weather. When Earth started, it was a fiery ball. We don't know what weather was in 1700. And even if we know some of it in Europe, we don't know what was happening in Africa, South America, Oceania, etc. We have people living in places where they did not live before. We have news that report weather related events minutes later or during. This did not happen before. There is no evidence that we have an increase in intensity. I looked into historical records in the area where I live - there is not much movement at all between 1970 and now. And remember - none of the previous weather predictions have materialized.