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Nikola Motor Has a New President: Michael Lohscheller, Former Opel and VinFast CEO

Michael Lohscheller brought Opel back to profitability, which is something GM tried to do for years to no avail. He then joined VinFast with the mission to expand the Vietnamese carmaker’s presence to the U.S. and Europe but left after only five months. We were curious to see where he would go next. Now we do: he is Nikola Motor Company’s new president.
Nikola hires Michael Lohscheller as his new president 20 photos
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Curiously, Lohscheller has a very similar mission to that he was in charge at VinFast: international expansion. The American company described his main goal with it as “scaling Nikola’s global truck business.” In other words, he will make sure that people in many markets are able to buy the electric trucks Nikola is already building.

The German executive will report directly to Nikola’s CEO. Mark Russell praised Lohscheller’s “several decades of direct automotive industry expertise” as a precious asset for the truck company. Board member Stephen Girsky welcomed the new Nikola president stating that “he knows his way around the manufacturing floors, board rooms, and showrooms.”

Girsky is probably the person that made the bridge between Lohscheller and Nikola. He was once a vice chairman at GM and is credited as the person that helped structure the deal between Nikola and the American carmaker. Lohscheller started working for Opel in 2012 and became the brand’s CEO months before GM sold it to PSA. It is not unlikely that Girsky and the German executive have known each other for years.

In his first official words at Nikola, Lohscheller said that “hydrogen fuel cell and battery-electric zero-emission vehicles are the future of mobility.” He also said he was excited to work with both technologies at Nikola, “a company that is paving the way for this global transformation.”

The truck business is very different from that of passenger vehicles. Trucks with fuel cells or massive battery packs may be even more unique. While adapting to this new reality, Lohscheller will probably focus on what these trucks will need to expand to other markets: the charging and hydrogen structure that Nikola’s trucks will demand to deliver goods around.

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