Holden's iconic Lang Lang proving ground has been sold to Vietnamese car maker VinFast in a historic deal that GM says will see the site "continue to shape the global automotive industry".
Details of the sale are yet to be made public, though GM Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director, Kristian Aquilina, describes it as a "fair price", and VinFast will continue to allow the HSV-replacing GMSV to use the Victorian facility as a testing ground.
“The Lang Lang proving ground will continue to shape the global automotive industry,” says Aquilina. “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.
“In some ways, it’s the end of an era. We pay tribute to rich automotive history created at the proving ground, and the brilliant Holden people who worked there. At the same time, its genuinely pleasing to know there’s a bright future there as well."
In a win for the identified environmental sensitivity of the site, VinFast has apparently committed to protecting flora and fauna of the site, and will allow ongoing access to Landcare.
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 the 877 hectare site to refine new models destined for the Australian market. But with Holden now closed, the sale 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.
The real question is when, or if, we'll see the VinFast launch in Australia. The brand cut the ribbon on a Melbourne R&D centre earlier this year, and is now the proud owner of Lang Lang, but is yet to confirm an Australian launch schedule for its growing range of SUVs and sedans.