General Motors Holden has sold its Lang Lang proving ground to three year old Vietnamese car maker VinFast for a speculated price of nearly $20 million.
The deal will see General Motors Special Vehicles – the new name for Holden Special Vehicles – retain access for testing.
Holden enthusiast club members and former employees via an open day can also still use it, the vendor said.
GMH opened the track, 85 kilometres south east of Melbourne, in 1957.
It recently invested $8.7m renovating improvements including laboratories, and developing new ones, and $7.2m upgrading some of the 44km of roads.
VinFast’s Australian launch imminent
VinFast is an arm of Vingroup, founded by Vietnam’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong, who started his fortune selling a Russian instant noodle business to Nestle about 25 years ago and is according to Forbes worth close to A$8 billion today.
The make was officially launched by David Beckham at the 2018 Paris Motor Show with a rear wheel drive sedan using the mechanics of BMW’s 5-series F10 (which was produced between 2009-2017), and an SUV, based on an X5.
The Fadil, a small car based on a Vauxhall, was unveiled last year.
VinFast’s Australian launch is imminent after it recently employed Melbourne-based executives and engineers made redundant from Holden, Ford and Toyota (story continues below).
Four months ago it moved into a purpose-built head office at 65 Fennel Street, Port Melbourne, abutting the West Gate Freeway.
VinFast will be global soon
Since acquiring the GM Vietnam enterprise in 2017, Vinfast has become that country’s fifth biggest car seller after Hyundai, Toyota, Kia and Honda.
Its new Hanoi headquarters, on 355 hectares of reclaimed land, is connected to a manufacturing plant capable of producing 250,000 cars and about 300,000 motorbikes/scooters per year.
It will shortly seize control a Korean factory from General Motors and, next year, intends to start trading in the United States as part of global expansion plans.
Vinfast also recently signed an agreement to sell Chevrolets in Vietnam, on behalf of GM.
According to various reports, the company outbid Lindsay Fox for the 887ha Lang Lang offering.
The seller and VinFast confirmed the transaction – which needed Foreign Investment Review Board approval – today.