Holden’s manufacturing presence went silent this past October, and the brand announced the former Elizabeth carmaking plant was sold to a Melbourne-based developer, Pelligra Group, last December. The developer has plans for a state-of-the-art business park, but carmaking could return to the site if a British billionaire has his way.
Sanjeev Gupta, a billionaire and head executive at GFG Alliance, has approached General Motors to purchase assets from the former Holden plant in order to build electric cars in South Australia, The Advertiser reported on Sunday. GFG said it intends to “develop the site as a manufacturing base for an electric vehicle, utilizing the innovative i-Stream technology.” i-Stream is a new chassis developed by Gordon Murray, the man behind the iconic McLaren F1.
The architecture uses Formula 1-derived construction to keep a car’s overall weight as low as possible. The overarching key to the chassis is a purpose-built approach with an extremely low parts count. The first car to use i-Stream will be the TVR Griffith.
South Australian treasurer, Tom Koutsantonis, reportedly penned a letter to GM asking for suppport in Gupta’s bid.
“We believe that the GFG Alliance’s plans would put South Australia at the forefront of the inevitable transition of the Australian market to electric vehicles and ask that all due consideration be given to their bid and the potentially significant benefits to the automotive industry and broader community in South Australia,” the letter, in part, read.
Gupta reportedly has big plans to create new manufacturing jobs at the site if the bid goes through, and the local and federal government has allegedly committed to resolving “logistical issues” in the area. The British billionaire has a pretty healthy track record of buying up failing businesses and turning them around; he’s purchased 20 steel, car and engineering plants in Britain.
Such a deal sounds familiar, though. In 2015, a Belgian businessman by the name of Guido Dumarey placed a bid to rescue the Elizabeth assembly plant to continue building cars on GM’s Zeta platform. The bid, ultimately, dissolved months later.