Holden’s former proving grounds in Lang Lang, Victoria is set to go up for sale for the second time in the past 12 months. VinFast, the emerging Vietnamese car company, bought the expansive test facility last September but a new report says the brand is already planning its exit from Australia.
CarExpert.com.au has reported that VinFast is scaling back its Australian engineering operations, having already closed its Port Melbourne facility earlier this year, with the Lang Lang proving grounds expected to be put up for sale again.
The arrival of VinFast was a boon for the local automotive engineering community with employees from Holden, Ford and Toyota all finding work with the ambitious Vietnamese company.
VinFast is owned by the country’s richest man (and first billionaire), Pham Nhat Vuong and only began operations in 2017. As we reported last year at the time of the sale, the decision to tap into the Australian expertise was seen as a way to fast-track its expansion plans.
Now, though, it seems VinFast is set to abandon its Australian operations altogether, with a skeleton crew reportedly staying on to maintain the proving grounds until a new buyer can be found.
It’s unclear why VinFast has changed direction, with the company yet to comment publicly, but Australia’s COVID-enforced travel restrictions are likely to have played a role, making it difficult for engineers to travel freely between Vietnam and the Australian operations.
That may also make finding a new buyer difficult, with the Lang Lang base offering an excellent range of facilities but travel restrictions effectively cutting it off from overseas car makers. The proving grounds, which are located approximately halfway between Melbourne and Phillip Island include 44km of testing roads including both paved and unsealed, the famous 4.7km high-speed bowl and a number of engineering buildings inside its 877-hectares.