Australia’s days as an automotive manufacturer came to a close in 2017, but now a reported plan by British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta could see Australian automotive manufacturing reborn as a producer of electric vehicles.
According to Reuters, Gupta, as the executive chairman of GFC Alliance, is looking to acquire the industrial assets from Holden’s former Elizabeth manufacturing site, which are to be offered in a global auction as part of General Motors’ decommissioning of the plant.
In a statement South Australian treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said, “Based on discussions I have had with the GFG Alliance I understand that, should they be the successful bidder, they intend to develop the site as a manufacturing base for an electric vehicle.”
In 2016 Holden fielded enquiries from a firm known as Punch Corporation, with the intention of continuing production of a version of the VF Commodore for Australia and nearby export markets, however at the time the program was deemed unfeasible.
Gupta’s vision for the production systems would see a new vehicle designed by Gordon Murray Design, and built using Murray’s iStream low-weight, low-cost production methods.
In December 2017 Melbourne-based Pelligra Group announced that it had purchased the former Holden production site with a view to developing a new high-tech industrial park called Lionsgate, with Holden to maintain a presence there for its parts and and servicing operations.
Gupta’s previous business investments in South Australia include the purchase of the Whyalla steel works and a 50.1 percent stake in Adelaide’s Zen Energy. Elsewhere his company has purchased over 20 steel, engineering, and automotive facilities around the world.