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The former Holden workers now employed by VinFast at the iconic Lang Lang Proving Ground have once again been abandoned by a manufacturer, with the Vietnamese automotive company to leave Australia and close the site.
CarsGuide has been told that around 50 people - engineers and technicians, mostly ex-Holden - will be impacted by the move, with VinFast to cease operations by the end of September.
It proves a quick turn around for VinFast, with Holden's iconic Lang Lang Proving Ground only sold to the Vietnamese car maker in September last year, in a move GM said at the time would "continue to shape the global automotive industry".
“The Lang Lang proving ground will continue to shape the global automotive industry,” GM Holden's then Interim Chairman and Managing Director, Kristian Aquilina, said at the time. “Over the past five years, GM has invested in the laboratories and tracks at the site, which will now be well utilised by its new owners.
“This deal hits a sweet spot of a fair sale value, a ready-made facility for VinFast’s needs, ongoing employment for departing Holden employees and the preservation of amenity for the community."
It also marked a significant investment for VinFast, which had chosen Lang Lang and Port Melbourne as its design and engineering hubs, and handed over $36.3m for the vast vehicle development site.
But the 877-hectare site will soon be on the market again, with VinFast closing its Port Melbourne facility in May.
The historic Lang Lang proving ground was given a stay of execution beyond the 2017 closure of Holden’s Australian manufacturing facilities, with a pledge to continue using site to refine new models destined for the Australian market. But with GM's departure from Australia leaving Holden now closed, the original sale to VinFast was inevitable.
First opened in 1957, Lang Lang’s 44km of sealed and unsealed test roads, skidpan, and 4.7km banked high-speed circular track have been used to test every new locally-developed Holden since the 1958 FC, plus an untold number of models for international market.
It now faces a very uncertain future, as a new owner is once again sought for this undeniable piece of Australian automotive history.