Vingroup has just appointed a Vietnamese woman to replace German Michael Lohscheller as the global director of VinFast, the auto company of the largest corporation in Vietnam that is currently penetrating the electric car market of the US and Europe with ambitious plans.
In a statement on December 27, Vingroup said Mr. Lohscheller would leave this position and “return to Europe for personal reasons.” The group also announced the appointment of Ms. Le Thi Thu Thuy – currently vice president of Vingroup – to replace Mr. Lohscheller as the global general director of VinFast.
The decision to “change horses in the middle of the line” at Vietnam’s first domestic car manufacturer is considered a surprise when Mr. Lohscheller has only held the position of global general director for 5 months. Vingroup did not say whether the new appointment was because Mr. Lohscheller left the position or for any other reason, but Automotive News said that the German executive had resigned.
Mr. Lohscheller was appointed to the highest position of VinFast in July. The group of billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong at the time said that Mr. Lohscheller, who used to be the vice president of Volkswagen America and is responsible for expanding business activities and promoting VinFast to the world.” Mr. Lohscheller directly managed and operated VinFast’s markets, including Vietnam, the US, Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Mr. Lohscheller led the strategy to turn VinFast into a “global smart electric car company” after leaving or being forced to leave his position as CEO of the German automaker, Opel, in July. He was the one to introduce VinFast’s first electric car models at the first major US annual car show – Los Angeles Auto Show – late last month.
The announcement on December 27, regarding the appointment of Ms. Thuy to replace VinFast’s global general director, quoted Mr. Lohscheller as saying that he was “very honored to be dedicating efforts and working for VinFast during the past time.”
“VinFast is on a journey to become a successful electric vehicle brand globally and I wish VinFast all the best in the future,” said Mr. Lohscheller.
VinFast has big ambitions to start selling electric cars in the US and European markets next year, competing with Tesla and other automakers. Founded in 2017, VinFast aims to compete in vehicle size and price. VinFast cars will come with a battery rental program, meaning that the cost of the battery – the most expensive part of an electric car – is not included in the car’s selling price.
Noting Mr. Lohscheller’s resignation, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that the German CEO was initially attracted by VinFast’s “development opportunities” but then “maybe it is not large or It is further away than you can imagine.”
“The ambitious plan to attack Tesla, among others, (of VinFast) is still in its infancy,” FAZ said. “VinFast until now has mainly operated in the domestic market and is still trying its luck with a new SUV line, which of course is difficult to stand out in terms of form and technology.”
In the long-term development plan, VinFast is said to be aiming for a public listing in the US next year. To prepare for this plan, Vingroup earlier this month established a new company called VinFast Singapore with headquarters in Singapore.
According to Vingroup’s announcement, VinFast’s new Vietnamese global general manager, Ms. Thuy, with many years of experience in various management positions, “is expected to be a driving factor in raising VinFast’s profile to become a global brand as well as VinFast smart electric vehicle products will be well received by international customers.”