Opel CEO Lohscheller to lead VinFast’s push into Europe, North America

Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller, who is leaving the Stellantis brand, has been named CEO at VinFast Global, the automotive arm of Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup.

Lohscheller will lead VinFast’s push to become a “global smart electric car company,” with an emphasis on growing the brand’s business in Europe and North America, according to a release. He will be based in Vietnam.

Opel said earlier this month that Lohscheller would be replaced as CEO by former Renault executive Uwe Hochgeschurtz starting Sept. 1.

VinFast plans to launch sales in markets including Germany, France, the Netherlands, the U.S. and Canada. It has R&D centers in Germany, the U.S. and Australia.

VinFast became Vietnam’s first fully fledged domestic car manufacturer when its first gasoline-powered models built under its own badge went on sale in 2019.

The company sold about 30,000 vehicles last year and has forecast sales of more than 45,000 for 2021. It is aiming to begin delivery of electric vehicles produced at its factory in the northern port city of Hai Phong to domestic customers this year, according to media reports.

Lohscheller was appointed Opel CEO in 2017 after the former General Motors subsidiary was acquired by PSA Group, now part of Stellantis.

Lohscheller started his automotive career at Mitsubishi Europe in 2001. In 2004 he moved to Volkswagen Group, where he worked in marketing and served as chief financial officer for VW Group of America.

He joined Opel as CFO in 2012 and was named CEO in July 2017, shortly after PSA Group bought Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors.

He was responsible for implementing the PACE turnaround plan at Opel under Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares.

After losing tens of billions under GM ownership, Opel’s finances were brought into the black by Lohscheller and the automaker had a positive operating margin by 2018.

Lohscheller was named an Automotive News Europe Eurostar in 2019 for his role in Opel’s turnaround.

Earlier this month Lohscheller announced that Opel would be an electric-only brand in Europe by 2028.