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Hannah Lutz is the finance and insurance editor and retail reporter for Automotive News
Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?
On the finance side, affordability has been a hot topic over the past few years, but it’s becoming a concern now as transaction prices and interest rates rise. Keeping an eye on the levers that affect affordability has been important for us, especially because they can also affect vehicle sales. In auto retail, everyone is looking into a crystal ball. With sales going online and vehicle subscriptions becoming an option, some dealers are wondering what their role will be in the future, while others are experimenting with new business models to make sure they have a role in the future.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.
I covered an odd story as an intern at the Chicago Sun-Times. The editors sent me to the Shedd Aquarium for a baby penguin’s gender reveal. I assumed they just gave me a sort of throwaway assignment for the day and that no other media outlets would show up. How wrong I was! Chicago was very excited about the penguin. At least a half dozen other reporters were there, along with at least one camera crew. A zoo employee sliced a vanilla frosted cake to reveal a pink center—the penguin was a girl.
What story or stories are you most proud of?
Every quarter, Automotive News publishes a themed finance and insurance section. We’ve covered auto retail and finance fraud, technology’s impact on auto finance, turnover, the icons that shaped the industry, etc. The section has been around eight pages the past few quarters, and its publication is followed by a webinar that I moderate with experts on the topic.
I also cover AutoNation and have known about its Drive Pink, cancer initiative for years. Lots of dealerships and automotive companies participate in or lead philanthropic initiatives, but when I visited AutoNation’s Fort Lauderdale headquarters, I realized their commitment was different. Telling the story from their headquarters, with the input of outside sources and data made what could have been a typical article on corporate philanthropy a story about the culture of the country’s largest dealership group.
Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am…
Sipping a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?
Know who you’re pitching! I get lots of pitches that don’t relate to my beats or to the automotive industry.
Any pet peeves with PR people?
Issuing a press release when the subject matter expert – the person reporters want to interview – is out of the office.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.)
I am not related to Bob Lutz.
Check out some of Hannah’s latest stories: