Smell Ya Later: Detroit Council Urges Stellantis to Buy Area Homes

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

In the latest development of what’s been a long-running saga involving strange odors from the Detroit Assembly Complex - Mack facility, city council members in Detroit are calling on Stellantis to relocate some residents who have been impacted by the issue.

According to Automotive News and other sources, the council has authorized a decision urging the automaker to “offer home buyouts at fair market value.” Note they are not requiring them to carry out this plan, instead making something of a strong suggestion. Whether the company will follow this guidance is, at present, unclear but Stellantis has apparently set aside $1.8 million to equip some homes near the plant with new windows, HVAC gear, and air monitors. As anyone who has ever taken on a home reno will tell you, that amount will likely be consumed very quickly.

Issues stem back a couple of years to the start of production at Mack. Neighbors were soon complaining of odd smells they felt were related to vehicle paint products, and Stellantis was quickly on the receiving end of half a dozen violations relating to air quality – not all of which were confined to the Mack facility. While spox insist the place is within permitted limits and their interim solutions have been effective, it would seem the problem is persistent.

In its present form, Mack is home to the production of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, its 4xe variant, and the long-wheelbase Grand Cherokee L. Roughly 2.5 million square feet of floor space on 178 acres provide employment for nearly 5,000 hourly workers and over 200 salaried personnel. To put it mildly, the place is important to Jeep and the UAW. The space was once used for powertrain assembly before Stellantis plowed about $1.6 billion into it for Grand Cherokee production. Automotive activity on the site dates all the way back to 1916 when the Michigan Stamping Company set up shop.

Part of that $1.6 billion investment was an all-new facility set to be used as a paint shop – ostensibly the place from which the obnoxious paint smells are emanating. Stretching almost a million square feet over five floors, this place handles all aspects from a phosphate e-coat to primers, base coats, and final clear coats. Which part of the process is causing these issues has yet to be publicly identified.

[Image: Stellantis]

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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.

More by Matthew Guy

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2 of 5 comments
  • Glennbk Glennbk on Feb 14, 2023

    Why aren't the dealing with the source? Doesn't it make sense for Stellantis to filter and scrub the emissions before they exit the plant.

  • IBx1 IBx1 on Feb 14, 2023

    A polluting factory should be held accountable; they make all that money so they can eat that cost if they don't want to cut their pollution.