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Michigan Economic Development Corp. members met recently with the top three executives of Covisint, an online auto industry exchange, to woo them into locating the firm’s headquarters to Michigan. At the meeting were the MEDC chairman Doug Rothwell, the Covisint executives, Peter Weiss of DaimlerChrysler AG, Alan Turfe of General Motors Corp. and representatives of Ford Motor Co. The Big Three created the online purchasing and communications system for automakers and suppliers.

Kathy McMahon, director of communications for the MEDC, told GlobeSt.com that it hopes the company will locate 500 employees at one of four sites: Ann Arbor, Oakland County’s Automation Alley along I-75, Pinnacle Aeropark under development at Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport or the Campus Martius office project in downtown Detroit.

Covisint has 200 employees in a temporary Southfield, MI-office. Company officials say they are not ready until the fall to make a decision of where to locate, and must wait for a selection of a chief executive officer and the results of a federal antitrust investigation. McMahon says Michigan is competing with Silicon Valley, CA, for the headquarters. “We really went through and made a business case for why they should choose Michigan. We’re home to the major Tier 1 automotive businesses, and have 90% of all automotive research and development companies in our state,” she says.

No specific dollar amount was offered to the company, but $1 million could be given by the MEDC for worker recruitment, McMahon says. Other perks like free pizza for a year and free state park passes for employees were offered as icing on the cake. The MEDC, a state agency, can offer tax credits and assistance to Covisint.

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