Lang Lang in reverse
The heartland of Holden, its Lang Lang proving ground, is safe again. The company has reversed its earlier decision to shut down operations and sell the site as part of its withdrawal from local manufacturing.
“This is an important step in ensuring that Holden and its products continue to speak with a strong Australian accent, now and in the future. The world over, everything starts and ends with great product,” says Stefan Jacoby, the head of General Motors International Operations.
“Our continued investment in the Proving Ground and the GM Australia Design Centre reinforces the strength of the Holden brand and the company’s commitment to maintaining a significant presence in Australia,” he continues.
“The Australian design and engineering capability is also a critical asset for GM globally. This local team is a key part of our global design and engineering strategy for the future.”
This decision protects the jobs of around 200 people but, as yet, there is no clear picture on what facilities will be retained. At present Lang Lang has development and durability testing, as well as emissions and crash testing.
“We’re talking a total of about 200 people. We had a discussion and we’ve been working on our strategy. We’re bringing new products and we thought it was important to be able to test our cars and tune them for Australian tastes. It will be mainly for fine tuning for the Australian market.”
Jacoby rejected any cynicism in the reversal of the earlier decision to shut the proving ground.
“It’s not just a PR move. I think it’s good news for Australia. We maintain a strong pillar here.”
The decision to retain Lang Lang comes as Holden’s design facility at Fishermans Bend continues to be plugged in to global work, including the design and construction of concept cars for other countries, including China.