Opel CEO leaves after reviving brand

Uwe Hochgeschurtz has been appointed to replace Michael Lohscheller as the CEO of the Opel/Vauxhall group.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung
Journalist
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Just days after Opel announced it will be going all electric, all the time by 2028, and then launching a new Astra, CEO Michael Lohscheller is preparing to the leave the building.

Credited with reviving the financial fortunes of Opel/Vauxhall, Lohscheller has “decided to pursue a new challenge outside Stellantis”.

Starting from September 1, he will be replaced by Uwe Hochgeschurtz, currently the head of Renault Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

The new CEO is charged with expanding the Germany and British brands’ commercial vehicle operations, re-entering the Chinese market, and transitioning to an all-electric lineup by 2028.

Mr Hochgeschurtz has degrees in business management from universities in Germany, France, the UK, and the US.

He started his automaker career at Ford in 1990. Towards the end of his time with the Blue Oval he became a product planner responsible for larger vehicles, such as the Galaxy and Mondeo, and finally head of marketing for light commercial vehicles (LCV) in Germany.

In 2001 Hochgeschurtz joined Volkswagen as its global head of LCV marketing, and helped to launch the T5 Transporter range.

Since joining Renault in 2004, his roles have included global head of LCV product planning, and head of corporate sales. He has headed up the firm’s German, Swiss and Austrian operations since 2016.

Lohscheller was made Opel and Vauxhall’s CEO days after Groupe PSA bought the two brands, and most of its infrastructure, from GM in 2017.

GM had long struggled with its “European patient” with the automaker making a loss every year since the turn of the millennium, and losing billions of euros in the process.

Around a year after PSA’s purchase of Opel/Vauxhall, the car maker was back in the black by aggressively cutting fixed costs, reducing production costs, and trimming its workforce.

During Lohscheller’s time in charge, Opel also launched a new design language that’s fronted by the “visor” front-end treatment that blends the grille and headlights into one full-width blacked-out element.

The firm has also moved to end its association with GM. This happened most dramatically when it decided to can the GM-developed sixth-generation Corsa despite the fact it was practically production ready.

With the just-unveiled Astra now sharing its underpinnings with the Peugeot 308, the last remaining GM product is the Insignia, which was sold for a few years in Australia as the ZB Holden Commodore.

It’s unclear where Lohscheller is heading to next, but the past year has seen a lot of churn at the executive level of many automakers.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung
Derek Fung is a Journalist at CarExpert.
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