The big cat’s out of the bag with news Holden’s old stomping ground, the Lang Lang proving ground — has been snapped up by Vietnamese carmarker VinFast.

The company, formerly GM Vietnam, launched two years ago with the debut of two models at the Paris motor show in October, 2018 — both developed with the help of BMW, Magna Steyr and Pininfarina.

VinFast and GM Holden have signed an agreement for VinFast to purchase the iconic GM Holden Proving Ground at Lang Lang in Victoria.

Located about 90km south-east of Melbourne, the complex was opened by Holden in 1957 on an 871 hectare site just off the Bass Highway.

It has been used to test every Holden model produced from the Holden FC onwards.

The dedicated site includes 44km of road systems, including a 4.7km, four-lane banked speed bowl, 5.5km handling course, 1.8km noise road and 98m diameter skid pan.

It is also equipped with an Emissions Laboratory and Safety Test Facility with crash barrier and HYGE sled.

GM announced in February the test track and design centre would close and all jobs would be made redundant after its decision to abandon production of right hand drive vehicles.

It has been revealed however the proving ground will continue to be used by GM Specialty Vehicles, the replacement for HSV — with vehicles like the Corvette, Camaro and Silverado.

This is a joint venture, but now between GM and the Walkinshaw Group.

 

GM Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director Kristian Aquilina said the sale meant global automotive research and development would continue at the Lang Lang Proving Ground.

“The Lang Lang Proving Ground will continue to shape the global automotive industry,” he said.

“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.”

But that’s not all . . .

GM recently announced a partnership between Chevrolet and VinFast.

VinFast will have exclusive rights to distribute Chevys in Vietnam and will take ownership of the existing General Motors (GM Korea) factory in Hanoi (VIDAMCO).

That factory will then build a GM-licensed “all-new global small car” to be sold under the VinFast name.

But wait, there’s more . . .

VinFast has recruited ex-Holden, Ford and Toyota employees, to staff a branch of the company in Port Melbourne — called VinFast Engineering Australia.

It makes Australia the first country to host a VF branch after the company moved in December last year.

Back to Lang Lang . . .

VinFast said it is committed to the on-going protection of the local bushland and environment and it intends to continue to allow access for community Landcare activities.

The company also intends to honour Holden’s heritage by allowing access for Holden car clubs and former employee open days.

 

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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