Award-winning journalist, photographer, and contributor for leading publications like The New York Times, Car and Driver, Forbes, Hemmings, Popular Mechanics, TREAD Magazine, Outside, and more, Mercedes Lilienthal creates engaging editorial covering all aspects of the automotive industry, global travel and the experiences going along with it, and inspirational people doing their part to change it. Mercedes appreciates diversity and paves her way through adversity by sharing her experiences with the world. She uses creativity as a wordsmith to craft unique and carefully curated content (primarily using her own photography).
Mercedes was born to German immigrants who moved to the United States without knowing a word of English. She believes hard work pays off—especially being a woman in a male-dominated industry. A dual citizen of Germany and the U.S., Mercedes travels the world and competes in a wide variety of automotive rally events as a competitor/media (partnering with automakers like Volkswagen of America, Subaru of America, and Jeep). She successfully piloted an all-electric crossover 1,400 miles across a barren desert with just her co-driver, a map, and a compass. With her husband as the driver, Mercedes effectively navigated their 1991 diesel Pajero, a tribute vehicle to the legendary late, great racer Rod Hall, to the Arctic Ocean and back in temps dipping to -4 degrees Celsius during a 10-day, 8,000-plus-kilometer road rally, and then some.
Along with journalism, Mercedes is the owner and founder of Crankshaft Consulting, offering clients a wide range of PR and marketing services. She also co-founded and manages Crankshaft Culture with her husband and fellow gearhead, Andy Lilienthal, and helps run Subcompact Culture, a blog about small cars. Mercedes regularly appears on podcasts and radio shows and gives interviews about subjects she’s well-versed in. This includes her travels, experiences, and diverse background. To Mercedes, those who dare will succeed. She expects the unexpected and documents each experience along the way.