Detroit Sees First New Auto Plant in 30 Years

Thu December 26, 2019 - Midwest Edition #26
Brenda Ruggiero – CEG Correspondent

A drone photo taken on July 12, 2019, shows work is under way to prepare the site for the new paint shop at Mack Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.
A drone photo taken on July 12, 2019, shows work is under way to prepare the site for the new paint shop at Mack Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.
A drone photo taken on July 12, 2019, shows work is under way to prepare the site for the new paint shop at Mack Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.
Construction workers begin raising the first of 299 pieces of steel that will form the structure of the new 800,000-sq.-ft. paint shop being built on the site of the former Mack Avenue Engine Complex. Construction workers secure the first of 299 pieces of steel that will form the structure of the new 800,000-sq.-ft. paint shop. The Arkansas-sourced steel was signed by the women and men involved in the project, an industry tradition. When complete, the FCA facility will be the first new assembly plant built in the city of Detroit in nearly three decades. FCA announced in February that it would invest $1.6 billion to convert the two existing Mack facilities into a new assembly site. Steel continues to be raised to form the structure of the paint shop being built.
Accompanied by escort vehicles, the first of six sections that form the E-coat dip tank arrives for installation at FCA’s new assembly plant on Detroit’s east side. Weighing about 17 tons each, the three bottoms and three tops will be married together to create the 115 ft. long tank. E-coat provides the important protective coating that prevents corrosion and ensures a beautiful, long-lasting paint finish.


The first new assembly plant to be built in the city of Detroit, Mich., in nearly three decades is beginning to take shape for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Plans are for it to be up and running by the end of 2020.

The company announced in Feb. 2019 that it planned to invest a total of $4.5 billion in five of its existing Michigan plants, and to work with the city of Detroit and state of Michigan on building a new assembly plant within city limits.

FCA reported that the plan is to increase capacity to meet growing demand for its Jeep and Ram brands.

The project reached a milestone on Aug. 13, when the first piece of steel was raised for the nearly 800,000-sq.-ft. paint shop being built on the site of the former Mack Avenue Engine Complex.

The two existing facilities are being renovated. Mack II, which has reportedly been idle since 2012, will become the new body shop. Mack I, which until June was producing the Pentastar engine family, will become the general assembly area.

Jodi Tinson, who handles communications for manufacturing and labor for FCA, reported that the company does not disclose its contractors. She noted that challenges with the project include "time frame, working in an urban setting and weather."

FCA reports that the total pavement for the facility will be 3 million sq. ft. (53 football fields).

The project will include 30,100 linear ft. of underground piping; a total of 485,000 tons or 9,700 trucks of dirt moved; and 375,000 tons or 7,500 trucks of stone brought into the site.

The body shop building size will be 646,600 sq. ft. It will include 6,370 lineal ft. of pipe and 10 new truck docks.

The general assembly building will be 1.05 million sq. ft. and it will include 7,000 lineal ft. of pipe and 28 new truck docks.

The paint shop building will be 790,500 sq. ft. and will include 299 caissons (some 120 ft. deep); 11,868 cu. yds. of concrete (foundations); 30,000 cu. yds. of concrete (walls/floors); 6,500 tons of structural steel; and 1,800 tons of reinforcing steel in concrete.

Tinson reported that major equipment used on the job includes a Volvo 750 excavator, a Cat D6 dozer; a Cat 962 loader; a Cat 330 excavator; a Cat 6T dozer; a Cat 365 excavator; a Cat 349 excavator; a Cat 336 excavator; a Liebherr LTM1220-5.2 265-ton crane; a Cat 330 excavator, a Cat 320 excavator; a Cat 315 excavator; a Cat 314 excavator; a Cat 312 excavator; a Cat 308 excavator; a Cat 938 loader; a Cat 299 skid steer; a Cat D-5 dozer; and a Cat smooth roller. CEG