Vietnamese carmaker VinFast will cease operations at the former Holden proving ground in Lang Lang, after purchasing the secret test grounds for more than $35 million less than 10 months ago.
Insiders at the facility today confirmed staff were notified by VinFast it would be closing the proving ground at the end of September 2021, and running a skeleton crew until a new buyer was found.
VinFast’s involvement in Australia was over almost as quickly as it begun, having employed around 100 staff at its local headquarters in Port Melbourne and the Lang Lang proving ground to develop a range of internal-combustion and electric vehicles for the Vietnamese startup.
Our understanding is that a number of upgrades have been made to the facility since the acquisition with the brand originally keen to maintain the site despite doubt over its engineering operation.
The company axed most of its Australian operation in May this year (with local boss, former Holden executive Kevin Yardley, resigning at the same time) but committed to retaining the Lang Lang proving ground and engineering operations.
Founded in 2017, the Vietnamese startup is the brainchild of property developer Phạm Nhật Vượng, who is Vietnam’s first billionaire with a net worth of around $6.5 billion.
Vinfast produces four vehicles – the Lux A2.0, the Lux SA2.0, the Fadil, and the President – along with a number of electric motorcycles.
Both Lux models use previous-generation BMW platforms (F10 5 Series and F15 X5 respectively) with BMW drivetrains and designs by Pininfarina.
In addition to manufacturing vehicles in Vietnam, Vinfast has exclusive import rights for Chevrolet vehicles and has taken ownership of the General Motors Korea factory in Hanoi, which is expected to build an all-new GM-licensed global small car with Vinfast branding.
Vinfast hopes to build 250,000 per a year during its first stage of operation, with a projected production increase to 500,000 vehicles per year by 2025.
Exports are expected to begin in 2021, with the brand working on a number of new electric vehicles it expects to export.
CarExpert has contacted VinFast for more information. To date it hasn’t been possible to get official comment from the company.