Less than six months after taking the job, Michael Lohscheller resigned as CEO of Vietnamese EV maker VinFast.
He’s leaving VinFast and returning to Europe for personal reasons, according to the company’s statement. Lohscheller assumed his new role in July, leaving Opel, where he was CEO.
Vingroup, the automaker’s parent company, named Le Thi Thu Thuy, who is currently vice chairman of Vingroup and will remain in that position, as VinFast’s new Global CEO. She will be directly responsible for overseeing VinFast’s business activities in its current markets, including Vietnam, the United States, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands, Vingroup said.
Thuy will directly oversee VinFast’s business activities in its current markets, including Vietnam, the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands, the parent company said.
Lohscheller’s departure comes as the company began to implement a massive plan to shift from internal combustion vehicle production to battery electric vehicles. That move included coming to the U.S. in the near term.
The now-former CEO confirmed in an exclusive interview with TheDetroitBureau.com last month the company plans to set up a U.S. assembly plant by 2024, with a goal of localizing at least some of the products it believes it can sell in the American market. Initial models, however, will be imported from Vietnam.
Based outside the capital city of Hanoi, VinFast pulled the covers off two new, all-electric SUVs during a well-attended news conference at the LA Auto Show in November — and a senior executive told TheDetroitBureau.com that as many as three more BEVs will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week.
The 4-year-old VinFast is still working closely with key technology partners — as well as Italian design house Pininfarina — the two models that debuted in L.A. were largely developed in-house. That includes the skateboard-like platform they share, with batteries and motors mounted below their load floors.
The VF e35 is the smaller of the two, with a more sporty, compact shape that chief designer Dave Lyon described as “Dynamic Balance.” It features a curvaceous roofline and crisp, sharp lines. It also shares the same basic face as the bigger VF e36, with light bars wrapping around the brand’s signature “V” logo.
The 36 is a midsize crossover with a more classic SUV shape and a wide-shouldered stance but, even then, it was heavily influenced by the wind tunnel. To improve aerodynamics — and increase range — it boasts features like flush door handles and a built-in spoiler, as well as air curtains to reduce wind drag around the front wheels.