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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


In this issue:
Expansion preps Vance facility for production of new Mercedes-Benz models
Hyundai's Alabama-made Elantra sets sales record for 2012
Angel investment group founder praises Atmore roots, 'crash-and-burn' lessons



Expansion preps Vance facility for production of new Mercedes-Benz models
Published: Sunday, December 23, 2012

By Patrick Rupinski


Mercedes-Benz U.S. International shut down its auto production in Vance for the holidays on Friday. But that does not mean things will be quiet at the sprawling auto plant during its two-week break.


Trucks and equipment will be coming through the gates; construction lifts will be in full swing; and nearly 1,000 hard-hat construction workers will be getting things into shape.


It's all part of one of the biggest expansions in the plant's history - an ongoing $2.4 billion investment that started in 2010 to prepare MBUSI for production of two additional models.

In 2013, Mercedes-Benz will start building the next generation of its C-Class sedans, and in future years a new, mystery vehicle that will be added to the Vance production line-up.


Earlier this month, the first of the equipment and machinery for the C-Class production was being installed, said Markus Schaefer, president and CEO of MBUSI.


"We already are training our pilot team leaders on the C-Class in Germany," he said. One hundred Alabamians are receiving the training.


"They will be flying back to Alabama for the holidays and then they will go back to Germany to complete their training," Schaefer said. "They will be the team leaders that will train the other workers who will build the C-Class staring in 2013.




[Tuscaloosa News]



Hyundai's Alabama-made Elantra sets sales record for 2012

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012, 9:45 AM  
By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com


MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- U.S. sales of the Alabama-made Hyundai Elantra compact have reached an all-time high this year.


Earlier this month, the car's 2012 sales surpassed last year's total of 186,361, the company said this week.


With about a week left to go in the year, the Elantra could become Hyundai's second model to break the 200,000 mark in sales this year, Hyundai said.

The other one is the Sonata sedan, which is also produced at the Korean automaker's Montgomery plant.


The plant's new third shift, which started in September, has allowed the company to better meet demand for the Elantra, said John Krafcik, chief executive for Hyundai Motor America.








Angel investment group founder praises Atmore roots, 'crash-and-burn' lessons

December 24, 2012 at 2:48 PM

By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com


MOBILE, Alabama - Of his 59 years, Jim Corman spent the first 53 in Atmore, happily starting telecommunications companies, selling them and starting over.


When he and his wife Jane found themselves empty-nesters six years ago, however, the serial entrepreneur and independent angel investor could think of no valid reason not to take a part-time teaching position in entrepreneurship at Auburn University.


A series of fortunate events and meetings have since inspired Corman to help give the Alabama business community that which it's long-lacked and desperately needs: an statewide investor network respected across the Southeast for its depth and breadth of both intellectual and financial capital.


Of course, Corman is the first to remind budding entrepreneurs that success rarely happens overnight and often eludes even the most organized and well-intentioned startups.


"I started my first company as a senior at Auburn (University), but it crashed and burned," he said, noting the enterprising spirit was too strong within him, and he went on to launch six more companies over the next three decades.


Two of those ventures didn't survive, but four were successful.


"The largest of those companies grew from a startup with me and three ladies in a rented house in Atmore to 2,000 employees and 2.2 million customers nationwide," he said.





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