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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:
Mercedes to produce new SUV at Tuscaloosa County plant
A start-up epidemic is spreading across the country, but are some sectors falling behind?
Southeast auto industry sees Mexico as threat
Regions Bank, City of Birmingham on same page in lead up to 1963 commemoration






Mercedes to produce new SUV at Tuscaloosa County plant
By Patrick Rupinski
Business Editor
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mercedes-Benz will add a totally new sport utility vehicle to its production line in Vance, most likely in 2015.


Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, told the company's shareholders' meeting in Stuttgart, Germany, on Thursday that the fifth model destined for Mercedes' sole U.S. auto assembly would be an SUV.


Mercedes officials previously have said that a fifth so-called mystery vehicle would be added to its production line in Vance in 2015, but they had not said what type of vehicle it would be.


"At our plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, we are currently preparing for the production of another new SUV: an especially dynamic all-terrain vehicle," Zetsche said at the annual meeting. "You will hear more about that soon."




[Tuscaloosa News]
















A start-up epidemic is spreading across the country, but are some sectors falling behind?
By J.D. Harrison
Friday, February 8

Dozens of entrepreneurs and investors gathered at the White House this week to update administration officials on the progress of start-up ecosystems in their hometowns and pitch policy recommendations for the coming year. But they didn't fly in from traditional innovation hubs like Boston and Silicon Valley; they came from cities like Lincoln, Neb., Nashville, Tenn., and Iowa City, Iowa.


"In the last couple years, there's really been a groundswell of entrepreneurial activity in places not traditionally known for that," Andy Stoll, co-founder of Seed Here Studio, a networking start-up for young companies in Iowa City, said in an interview. "Geography doesn't have a monopoly on good ideas, and we are just trying to find ways to unlock that latent entrepreneurial talent in places like Iowa. We're not saying we're better than New York or San Francisco, we're just asking "Why not here in the Miwest?"


Once largely confined to a few metropolitan areas along the coasts, the "entrepreneurial bug," as one venture capitalist put it, has started spreading to towns and cities around the country. Alan Patricof, founder and managing director of Greycroft Partners in New York and Los Angeles, said the movement seems to have sparked a surge in the number of start-ups nationwide, reversing a recent decline in new business formation.









Southeast auto industry sees Mexico as threat
Rudolph Bell, The Greenville (S.C.) News
February 7, 2013


GREENVILLE, S.C. - Mexico has emerged as theSoutheast's No. 1 competitor for automotive jobs, and industry experts are urging the region's automotive companies and their allies to band together to meet the growing challenge.


The experts say Mexico has recently replaced the Southeast as the North American region with the fastest-growing automotive industry, drawing $11 billion in investment from 2010 to 2012, compared with $7.5 billion for the Southeast in the same period.


Numerous published reports have identified BMW as among the automakers with plans to build factories in Mexico although the German automaker has not said it will open any North American plant in addition to the one it operates in Greer, S.C.


 Asked about the prospects of a Mexican plant, Kenn Sparks, a spokesman for BMW of North America in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., said any announcement would come from the company's headquarters in Munich.

"BMW is a global company, and we're always looking for locations that will expand our business," Sparks said.

Motor-vehicle manufacturing is the second largest of the manufacturing sectors nationwide, according to the Economic Policy Institute.




[Greenville News]








Regions Bank, City of Birmingham on same page in lead up to 1963 commemoration
By Alex Walsh | awalsh@al.com 
on February 07, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Mayor William Bell visited Regions Bank's downtown headquarters on Thursday to laud the company's support of the City of Birmingham's 1963 commemoration efforts. 
"In the business sector, none has been stronger than that of Regions Bank," Bell said with regard to the financial institution's support of the city.
Regions will provide financial and volunteer support to several commemorative projects and organizations in 2013.








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