Why Michael Lohscheller is leaving Opel 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 statement. 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 EVs 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.