A strong odor results in state violations.
Jeep's newest factory in America stinks. Literally. An odor that's described by Michigan state regulators as a "moderate to strong" paint or solvent smell is emitting from the Mack Avenue plant, also known as the Detroit Assembly Complex - Mack. It's a massive 2.5 million square foot facility with nearly 5,000 hourly and salaried workers tasked with building the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L.
The Detroit Free Press reported late last week the year-old facility has been issued an air quality violation last month by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) due to the "persistent and objectionable paint/solvent odors of moderate intensity… impacting residential areas downwind of the facility."
Investigators noticed the strong smells on three separate occasions beginning in late August after local residents complained. Stellantis has acknowledged the problem but has yet to come up with a solution.
"We take all environmental issues seriously and understand our responsibility to be a good neighbor," a spokesperson said. "We are working with EGLE to identify and resolve any concerns in an affirmative manner." Stellantis needs to act fast and we mean really fast. EGLE has given the automaker until tomorrow (Monday) to respond to the violations and provide an explanation. The carmaker must also declare if the facility is violating any other air quality regulations discovered during its internal investigation.
The Mack Ave plant is actually the merging of two older engine facilities plus an expansion that required tearing down nearby residential land. This resulted in a new section of the plant, specifically the paint shop, being located awfully close to surviving residential neighborhoods. There haven't been any reported health issues among residents or factory employees, but this is something that must be taken care of immediately.
Jeep and Stellantis can't afford for this facility to experience any production downtimes beyond anything the semiconductor chips shortage crisis. The new Grand Cherokee L is a key model in the lineup with high-profit margins. The sooner this odor issue is resolved, the better for everyone.