For a company that only started making cars in July last year, Vietnam’s VinFast is moving really fast.
They already have three models under production at their plant in the northern port city of Hai Phong: the BMW 5 Series F10-based Lux A2.0 sedan, BMW X5 F15-based Lux SA2.0 SUV, and the Fadil city car (a rebadged Opel Karl). The company also has an electric SUV under development that will spearhead its planned expansion to the U.S. market from 2021. Not impressed yet?
Well, how about the fact that VinFast has signed an agreement with GM Holden to purchase the iconic Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria, Australia? The deal was inked last week and is part of VinFast’s efforts to expand internationally. It also ensures that global automotive research and development will continue at the Lang Lang Proving Ground.
Stretching across 872 hectares (2,155 acres), Lang Lang is one of the oldest and most modern car testing centers in the world, having been comprehensively upgraded in 2018. It has more than 44 kilometers (27 miles) of paved and unpaved test roads simulating all types of terrain, a 100-meter (328-ft) diameter skid pan, as well as a 4.7-kilometer (2.9-mile) banked high-speed circular track.
In addition to the outdoor test facilities, Lang Lang has a new emissions laboratory which is said to meet the strictest standards of a world-class testing center. VinFast did not disclose the sum it will pay for the Lang Lang proving ground but the words “fair price” are used in the press release. As part of the deal, GM Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) will continue to access the Lang Lang site for testing and engineering validation.
VinFast said it is committed to the ongoing protection of the local bushland and environment and it intends to continue to allow access for community Landcare activities. Additionally, the Vietnamese automaker intends to honor Holden’s heritage at the iconic site by allowing access for Holden car clubs and former employee open days.
“The Lang Lang Proving Ground will continue to shape the global automotive industry. Over the past five years, GM has invested in the laboratories and tracks at the site, which will now be well utilized by its new owners,” said GM Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director Kristian Aquilina. “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,” he added.
As for VinFast, Kevin Yardley, director of the recently-founded VinFast Institute of Automotive Technology 2 R&D center in Melbourne added: “Currently, VinFast’s product research and development is making rapid progress. Therefore, owning a modern testing center like Lang Lang helps a lot for our activities. Many employees in VinFast team are currently recruited from Holden and they are all very happy to continue working here.”