Just months after Holden closed its doors, the UK billionaire who saved the Whyalla steelworks is looking to bring car manufacturing back to Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
SA Treasurer, Tom Koutsantonis, said Sanjeev Gupta’s company, GFG Alliance, recently approached the State Government with a plan to buy some of the former factory’s assets. If successful, Mr Koutsantonis said, Mr Gupta would use the equipment to begin manufacturing electric vehicles at Elizabeth.
“Mr Gupta and the GFG Alliance already manufacture motor vehicles in the United Kingdom,” Mr Koutsantonis said that included “elite motor vehicles for motor sports…and road bikes”.
“They’re keen to manufacture and they saw this as an opportunity, I understand, to purchase some equipment from General Motors Holden from a site that’s now closed down,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“What Mr Gupta is realising, like the rest of the world, is that electric vehicles … are the way of the future.”
In December, Melbourne-based developer Pelligra Group was revealed as the buyer of the plant, but the site will not be formally handed over until after decommissioning, which is expected to continue until mid-2019.
Mr Koutsantonis said an electric car industry would provide a significant economic boost for the northern suburbs in the wake of Holden’s departure. “We think we can manufacture a number of high-tech goods [but] if we could get back into automotive manufacturing, that would be great,” he said.
“Ultimately this is a question between Sanjeev Gupta and General Motors Holden.”
Federal Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, welcomed Mr Gupta’s attempt to bring car manufacturing back to South Australia.
“He has some exciting plans for South Australia, and if he wants to invest in creating more jobs in this country then of course we would always welcome that,” he said.
“I don’t know how advanced those plans are [but] he’s proven himself internationally to be an entrepreneur who gets results.”