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Top News Links: Wednesday, March 8

Alabama Odysseys will soon pack Georgia-made transmissions

Honda this week announced the launch of global production of a new 10-speed automatic transmission for the all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey, which launches this spring. Production began at Honda Precision Parts of Georgia, located in Tallapoosa in Haralson County. The Odyssey is made exclusively at Honda's Lincoln plant. – AL.com

Lawmakers may cede payday loan decision to voters

In the fight for effective payday lending reform, 45 Alabama legislators are pushing to give the power to the people. A bi-partisan group of legislators and payday reform advocacy groups gathered at the Alabama State House Tuesday to introduce a bill that would allow Alabamians to vote on a constitutional amendment that would cap payday loan interest rates at 36 percent. – Montgomery Advertiser

Auburn researchers want to make big energy less wasteful

The American way of producing energy is amazingly successful. Prices for gasoline, for example, are cheaper here than any developed country. But the process is also wasteful, and that's what Auburn University scientists and engineers want to change. – AL.com

Bentley’s prison bill debated by lawmakers

A vote on a bill for prison construction was delayed Tuesday as legislators worked to develop an acceptable version of the controversial proposal. Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, the bill’s sponsor, said Tuesday he had reached a “tentative agreement” that would scale back the number of prisons and drop a controversial method of bidding the process. Ward expected a vote on a committee substitute Thursday, though he doubted the bill would address all concerns. – Montgomery Advertiser

Mercedes makes move to ramp up electric models

Daimler AG invested in ChargePoint Inc., which operates a network of electric-car charging stations, as the Mercedes-Benz maker ramps up a push into battery-powered vehicles. Daimler led a group investing $82 million in the Campbell, California-based company. – Alabama News Center

Dunkin’ Donuts adding 17 new shops in Alabama, Mississippi

The fast food giant, Dunkin’ Donuts, part of Dunkin’ Brands Group, is geared up to expand further in two southern states. The company has inked multi-unit store development agreements with two franchisees whereby it plans to build a total of 17 restaurants in Alabama and Mississippi over the next several years. – Zacks

Subaru CEO says he’s betting on the South for growth

Peaking demand, high incentive costs, threats of a border tax -- none of these are distracting Subaru from its marketing and growth ambitions in its biggest market. “America is the pillar,” Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, CEO of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., which owns Subaru, said in an interview. “It’s true we want to increase sales in other countries, but in terms of the place with the best chance to increase sales, it has to be America’s Sun Belt” states in the South. – Automotive News

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