Sonari Glinton

Sonari Glinton is a NPR Business Desk reporter based at our NPR West bureau. He covers the auto industry, consumer goods and consumer behavior, as well as marketing and advertising.

In this position, which he has held since late 2010, Glinton has tackled big stories including GM's road back to profitability and Toyota's continuing struggles. Glinton has traveled throughout the Midwest covering important stories such as the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, and the 2012 presidential race. He has also covered the U.S. Senate and House for NPR.

Glinton came to NPR in August 2007 and worked as a producer for All Things Considered. During that time he produced interviews with everyone from UN Ambassador Susan Rice to Joan Rivers. The highlight for Glinton came when he produced Robert Siegel's 50 Great Voices piece on Nat King Cole.

Glinton began his public radio career as an intern at member station WBEZ in Chicago. He went on to produce and report for WBEZ. While in Chicago he focused on juvenile justice and the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Prior to journalism Glinton had a career in finance.

Glinton attended Boston University.

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Around the Nation
3:29 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

For Best-Selling Truck, Ford Bets Big On Aluminum

A 2015 F-150 rolls off the assembly line at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The aluminum-sided F-150 could set a new industry standard — or cost the company its pickup truck crown.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 4:30 pm

The first 2015 Ford F-150 rolled off the assembly line this week, and it is no normal truck. The new F-150 pickup is the first with an aluminum body, making it hundreds of pounds lighter than its predecessors.

Ford isn't taking this gamble on just any truck — the F-150 is the company's most important vehicle. Morgan Stanley estimates the F-Series truck line and SUV derivatives represent 90 percent of Ford's global profits.

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Economy
4:56 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Beyond The Unemployment Rate: Look At These 5 Labor Indicators

Job hunters line up for interviews at an employment fair in New York City. The unemployment rate tells only a partial story about the U.S. labor market.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 7:11 pm

The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since July 2008 — to 5.8 percent — the Labor Department said Friday. And October marks the ninth month in a row that job growth has exceeded 200,000.

But if you ask Americans about the economy, they're still mostly not impressed.

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Business
6:01 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

No Quick Fixes For Drivers Affected By Air Bag Recall

The 2002 Honda CR-V is one of dozens of car models subject to a recall for faulty air bags. The air bag manufacturer, Takata, supplies bags for more than 30 percent of all cars and is one of only three large air bag suppliers.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety AP

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 7:09 pm

Most auto recalls usually involve one carmaker at a time, but a massive recall this week affects not just one, but 10, ranging from BMWs to Toyotas.

At the center of it is Takata, a little-known but extremely important auto parts maker. The company makes more than one-third of the air bags in all cars.

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Business
5:26 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

As Gas Prices Drop, Hybrid Sales Shift Into Low Gear

Sales of traditional hybrids, plug-ins and all-electric cars are down about 5 percent in 2014 — while truck and SUV sales have jumped.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 6:25 pm

The recent drop in gas prices may be good for consumers, but it's not such good news for hybrid car sales.

Even before gas prices started to slide, hybrid sales were falling — all while sales of trucks, SUVs and luxury sedans have been on the rise.

That relationship between gas prices and sales is "rather remarkable," says John Krafcik, president of the website TrueCar. "During months when gas prices are low, less fuel-efficient cars tend to take a greater share of the market and vice versa. It's a fairly one-to-one relationship."

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Business
3:11 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

A Deal Between 'Dollar' Stores Raises The Stakes Against Wal-Mart

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 6:27 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Business
3:53 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Lawmakers Call For GM's Top Lawyer To Step Down

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 7:40 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At a Senate hearing today, there were calls for General Motors top lawyer to step down. Recent media reports have made clear that company lawyers knew faulty ignition switches were causing fatal accidents. Despite that GM blocked internal efforts to issue a recall and they kept information from federal safety regulators. The ignition defect is responsible for at least 13 deaths and will cost GM billions of dollars. NPR's Sonari Glinton has the latest.

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Business
3:17 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

In GM's Payout Plan, End Of The Road Is A Long Way Off

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:01 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Business
2:58 am
Mon June 23, 2014

As Carmakers Recall Vehicles, Dealers Might Make A Profit

Chevrolet dealerships like this one might actually benefit from General Motors' recall of millions of cars — as long as customers don't have to wait too long for their repairs.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 4:20 am

The auto industry is cruising toward a record number of safety recalls: GM has recalled 20 million vehicles in the first six months of this year, and most carmakers have lowered the bar for the kind of problems that'll have them sending you back to your local dealers.

But while that sounds like bad news, it turns out that recalls can have an upside — at least for car dealers.

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Business
3:32 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

GM Chief Makes A Return Trip To The Hill, Where A Grilling Awaits

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 6:08 pm

General Motors CEO Mary Barra faced another grueling hearing on Capitol Hill, two weeks after a critical internal report blasted the company's handling of defective ignition switches as incompetent. GM has recalled 20 million vehicles already this year and has set aside $700 million to cover repairs related to the recall.

Business
4:39 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Cars Shed Pounds In Race To Meet Fuel-Efficiency Goals

Ford says it cut the weight of its concept Fusion (left) by nearly 25 percent, matching the weight of a Ford Fiesta (right).
Ford

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 6:16 am

The car industry is required to raise the average fuel efficiency of its vehicles to 54.5 miles a gallon by 2025. But consumers have been reluctant to adopt hybrid technology that'll get the industry there quicker.

That means the car companies have to find other ways to get fuel savings.

If you were to guess, how important would you say fuel economy is to the car business? How much of the research and development is going into making cars more efficient?

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Business
3:16 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Internal Probe Decries GM's 'Incompetence And Neglect'

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 6:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. A blistering report was released today about why General Motors failed to recall millions of vehicles with a defective part - a faulty ignition switch that has been linked to at least 13 deaths. The report, prepared by a former U.S. attorney, details a pattern of incompetence and misconduct that reached the executive floors at the auto company. In response, GM has dismissed 15 employees and is creating a victims' compensation fund. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from Detroit.

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All Tech Considered
5:11 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

For Automakers, Internet-Connected Cars Are A Balancing Act

General Motors says its OnStar 4G LTE connection will allow cars to act as a mobile Internet hub.
General Motors

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 8:21 pm

The Internet is coming to your car. Later this year, General Motors will put Internet connectivity directly into its vehicles. It's the largest auto company to do so.

Of course, safety advocates have some concerns about more distractions for drivers.

The promise of technology is always the same one — that it's going to make our life easier. But anyone who's tried to make a hands-free call in the car knows that's not always true. A task as simple as asking your device to call your mom can be an exasperating experience.

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Business
3:01 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Feds Slap GM With $35 Million Penalty For Safety Law Violations

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 7:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The federal government is hitting General Motors with its maximum fine for delays in an auto recall, $35 million. It's a response to GM's recall of cars with faulty ignition switches, a defect that's been linked to 13 deaths.

And as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, today's agreement with the Department of Transportation won't close the books on the problem.

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News
3:08 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Toyota Pulls Over 6 Million Vehicles Worldwide

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 5:48 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Another major auto recall today, this time it's Toyota. The Japanese auto giant is recalling 6.4 million vehicles worldwide for a variety of defects, including problems with seat rails and airbags. No injuries have been reported. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports this particular recall is not happening in a vacuum.

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Business
2:42 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Just How New Is The 'New' GM?

CEO Mary Barra told Congress that she sits at the helm of the new GM. Is the company new and improved? The answer is complicated.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 8:34 am

During her grilling before Congress last week, General Motors CEO Mary Barra insisted the new General Motors is different and better than the old one.

So as GM begins to fix nearly 2.6 million vehicles for an ignition-switch defect that has been linked to at least 13 deaths, we decided to put that claim to the test.

Exactly how new is the new GM?

NBC's Saturday Night Live answered with a parody version of Barra's explanation:

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Business
4:55 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

The Long Road To GM's Ignition Switch Recall

Chevy Cobalts on the assembly line in Ohio in 2008. Documents show General Motors was aware of problems with the car's ignition switch years before, but failed to act.
Ron Schwane AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 11:08 am

The new head of General Motors, Mary Barra, goes to Capitol Hill Tuesday to begin two days of testimony.

It's the first time she'll be questioned about a safety defect that's been linked to at least 13 deaths and has sparked a 2.6 million-vehicle recall.

At issue for the Detroit CEO is a classic question: What did GM know about the problems with ignition switch problems in its cars, and when did the company know it?

And just as important for GM and government regulators is the follow-up question: Why did no one act sooner?

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Business
3:16 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

As Carmakers Turn Up The Recalls, Consumers Tune Out

The number of vehicles recalled has more than doubled in the past 20 years.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:02 pm

In the past week, Volkswagen recalled 150,000 Passats because of potential hood problems that could damage the headlights, and Honda recalled 900,000 Odyssey vans because of a potential fire hazard.

Those moves follow the recent General Motors recall of 1.6 million vehicles over a faulty ignition switch, which has been linked to 12 deaths. It took the company nearly a decade to inform the public of the problem.

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News
3:20 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Toyota's $1.2B Settlement Puts Criminal Probe To Rest

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 6:59 pm

Toyota will pay $1.2 billion to end a federal criminal probe into a vehicle recall. Federal regulators said five people died in accidents related to unintended acceleration prior to the recall.

Business
4:39 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Delayed Safety Recall May Haunt GM As It Continues Its Makeover

The Chevrolet Cobalt is one of the GM models being recalled for faulty ignition switches.
David Zalubowski AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 5:51 pm

General Motors is coming under mounting criticism for its handling of a serious defect. Last month, the company recalled 1.6 million vehicles because of faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths. The cars, made from 2003-2007, could stall or fail to deploy their airbags.

It's an issue GM has known about for a while, and now Congress wants to know why it took the automaker almost a decade to warn the public about it.

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The Salt
4:50 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

What Pepsi Can Teach Us About Soft (Drink) Power In Russia

Pepsi was the first American consumer product to be manufactured and sold in the former Soviet Union. In 1991, Russians could buy the soda for 20 kopeks, about 10 cents.
Peter Dejong AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:09 pm

The United States has threatened economic sanctions against Moscow, but America is light on financial leverage in Russia: The country represents less than 1 percent of U.S. trade, and few major U.S. companies have significant investments there.

But one company with a long history in Russia is Pepsi.

So how did the American soft drink giant get its foot in the door to build a major market in Russia?

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Sports
5:46 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Hometown Hero Triumphs In Women's Figure Skating

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 7:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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The Edge
5:24 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Female Figure Skaters Compete For Gold — And The Sport's Future

Yuna Kim, of South Korea, won gold in Vancouver. She's leading the field after Wednesday's short program.
Adrian Dennis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:55 pm

If there is such a thing as a home rink advantage, that makes the competition in the women's figure skating program fierce. Russian fans erupted with glee for Adelina Sotnikova on Wednesday. And then there's Yulia Lipnitskaya, a 15-year-old Russian phenom who has thrilled Russian fans and stunned the figure skating world.

Scott Hamilton, a 1984 figure skating gold medalist, has been watching Lipnitskaya closely.

"She's beyond her years. Like, you look at her and she qualified [to be age-eligible] for the Olympics by days," he says.

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Sports
4:00 pm
Sat February 15, 2014

U.S. Struggles To Find Skating Groove In Sochi

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 8:18 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

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The Edge
5:42 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

In Men's Figure Skating, U.S. Pins Hopes On A New Class

Jason Brown skated to Prince during his short program Thursday.
Vadim Ghirda AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 6:58 pm

What's the hardest sport at the Winter Games — biathlon, aerial skiing, snowboarding, or high-flying slopestyle?

Jeremy Abbott thought it was one of those until an Olympic official told him otherwise. "Hands down," he was told, "absolutely, figure skating is the hardest."

Abbott may not completely agree, but he says it's the rare affirmation he's gotten as a male figure skater.

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Sports
3:29 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

American Speedskaters Leave Ice Disappointed

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:00 pm

U.S. speedskating took a big hit in Sochi today, coming out of the 1,000-meter competition with no medals. The team's highest rank was eighth, earned by Shani Davis, who has dominated this race in the past.

The Edge
7:56 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Germany's Hoefl-Riesch Wins Women's Super-Combined Skiing

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch during the slalom run of the women's alpine skiing super-combined event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Stefano Rellandini Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 10:47 am

As always, if you're among those who don't want to know who's won what until NBC-TV's primetime show is on the air, stop reading now. For those who do like to know what's happening, here's a quick look at the medals already awarded today and some of what's coming later on:

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The Edge
7:52 am
Sun February 9, 2014

U.S. Speedskaters Get A Little Help From Their Friends

From left: U.S. Speedskaters Kelly Gunther, Brittany Bowe, Heather Richardson and Sugar Todd are aiming for Olympic glory in Sochi, Russia.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 3:15 pm

Speedskating is the U.S.'s most successful winter Olympic Sport. In Sochi this year, great things are expected again.

The secret to their success includes talent, skill and hard work, but there's also a network of support that buoys the team.

Two-time gold medalist Shani Davis is looking to win a history-making third: He would be the first speedskater to win the same event in three different Olympics.

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The Edge
2:23 am
Fri February 7, 2014

In Team Event, Figure Skating Rivals Cheer For Each Other

Marissa Castelli (front center) and Simon Shnapir (front right) of the U.S. wait for their scores in the pairs short program Thursday in Sochi. With them are coach Robert Martin and teammates (back, from left) Jeremy Abbott, Charlie White and Meryl Davis.
Darren Cummings/Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 10:26 am

There's always a lot of drama in figure skating, and not necessarily on the ice. There's the judging and the personalities — think Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

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World
4:18 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Countdown To Sochi: Will The City Be Ready?

In Sochi, sporting arenas are ready to receive athletes and visitors, but some stores and hotels aren't quite finished.
Sonari Glinton NPR

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:07 pm

The Winter Games begin Thursday in Sochi, Russia.

Thousands of athletes and journalists have already converged on the city along the coast of the Black Sea, and spectators will be streaming in this week. But ahead of the games, the real race is to see if all the last-minute preparations can be completed in time.

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Business
2:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Detroit Touts Clean, Efficient Diesels, But America Isn't Sold

Automakers like GM, Chrysler and Volkswagen are introducing new, cleaner diesel passenger cars to the U.S. market as fuel-efficient alternatives.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, it's not all hybrids and battery-powered cars. Some car companies are making significant investments in a fuel that's not new at all — diesel.

The newest diesel engines are far cleaner than their predecessors, and they get many more miles per gallon. The question is, what's holding customers back from switching gas pumps?

When you look around the auto show, there's a lot of energy and there's a lot of money being spent again. The one topic that keeps coming up, of course, is fuel economy.

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