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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Business
4:20 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

As Construction Picks Up, American Truck Makers Race

Ford unveils the F-150 Atlas concept pickup during January's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Experts say the boom in construction will boost pickup sales.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:34 pm

Economists look at many tea leaves as they try to determine the health of the economy. One of the most important surrounds vehicle sales, and more specifically pickup truck sales, which are tied to the construction industry. And as last month's sales rose 18 percent, the auto industry is betting big on a real estate rebound.

It's arguable that the Ford F-150 is the most important vehicle to come out of Detroit since the Model-T. It's also built where many parts for the old Model-T were made in Dearborn, Mich.

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Planet Money
12:18 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Why Buying A Car Never Changes

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

"Buying a car sucks," Scott Painter says. "It's something that most consumers fear."

Back in the '90s, Painter started a company to try to change this. "The name of the company was Cars Direct," he says. "The mission was to sell cars directly."

Painter wanted his company to build virtual dealerships that would let people go online and buy cars. But after talking with a few car execs, he realized nobody would even consider his idea.

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Business
1:33 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Beyond Portlandia: Subaru Drives For America's Heartland

Subaru, known for its success in Denver, the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast, aims to expand its market to Texas and Tennessee.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 8:11 am

The car market in the U.S. is at its most competitive. Not only are big companies like General Motors and Toyota slugging it out, but in order to survive, small-niche players like Subaru also are trying to push into the mainstream.

The Japanese carmaker is popular in Denver, the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast. Now Subaru has its sights on Texas and Tennessee.

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Around the Nation
4:02 am
Sun January 20, 2013

'That's Our Guy': Chicagoans Welcome Obama Back To D.C.

Chicagoan Janice Trice was an Obama volunteer in 2008 and 2012. Her husband died on Election Day in 2008, before he could celebrate Barack Obama's victory, or even find out that he won. She says this pilgrimage is a way for her to honor his memory.
Sam Sanders NPR

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 7:23 am

For President Obama's first inauguration, Rep. Danny Davis of Illinois organized a group of more than 700 people — on 10 buses — to make the journey from Chicago to Washington, D.C.

Last time, one of those buses broke down. This time, however, the group decided to take an 18-hour Amtrak ride to see the second presidential inauguration of their hometown hero.

Davis staffer Tumia Romero, who organized the trip, says she did not want to deal with the nightmare of a bus having issues again.

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All Tech Considered
3:38 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Bump On The Road For Driverless Cars Isn't Technology, It's You

Car companies are picking up automobile concepts such as this Lexus SL 600 Integrated Safety driverless research vehicle, shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January in Las Vegas.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 11:07 pm

When you watch science fiction movies, you notice there are two things that seem like we will get in the future — a silver jumpsuit and driverless cars.

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Business
1:24 am
Tue January 15, 2013

With Redesigned Corvette, GM Ushers In New Era Of American Sports Car

The newly redesigned Corvette Stingray is unveiled by General Motors on Sunday. The Corvette's status as a cultural icon presents challenges for GM as it attempts to the bring the beloved brand into the 21st century.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 8:24 am

This week, the sleek, speedy Chevy Corvette turns 60 years old. In the increasingly competitive auto business, where few cars make it past their teens, that makes it nearly ancient.

General Motors, however, is not retiring one of America's oldest sports cars just yet, and is embarking on the perilous path of updating the beloved brand. The auto company unveiled the new 2014 Corvette at the Detroit Auto Show on Sunday, a model that also revives the long-dormant Stingray name.

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Business
2:41 am
Fri January 4, 2013

2012 Was A Very Good Year For The Car Industry

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 6:46 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a roundup of auto sales.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: We mentioned the other day that auto sales numbers for 2012 were looking like they were going to be very good. Now we have the numbers. For the auto industry, sales increased by 13 percent in 2012 and the major carmakers were profitable.

NPR's Sonari Glinton tells us why.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: 2012 brought with it the third straight year of double digit growth for the auto industry.

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Around the Nation
3:30 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Wind Power Changes Landscape In Multiple Ways

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 5:22 am

The "fiscal cliff" deal leaves in place tax subsidies for the wind power industry for at least one more year. Windmills have dramatically changed the picture of the Midwest. Wind has also changed the landscape economically and politically.

Business
3:42 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Best Car Deals To Be Found This Time Of Year

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 3:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We are in a great season to buy a car. Automakers and dealers are offering lots of incentives. And those incentives are just one of the factors in what may end up as the best year for the auto industry since 2007, before the height of the financial crisis. So why has it been a good year? Well, when millions of people hold off on their car purchases for years, that pent up demand, along with cheap credit, will eventually drive stronger sales.

Here's NPR's Sonari Glinton.

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Business
2:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Toyota To Settle 'Sudden Acceleration' Lawsuits

Owners of Toyota vehicles that experienced sudden and unintended acceleration have reached a settlement requiring the carmaker to pay as much as $1.4 billion in claims. A judge will review the proposal Friday.

Business
1:51 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Detroit Three Look To Revive Their Luxury Brands

Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., stands next to the Lincoln MKZ. For the first time ever, Ford will promote the Lincoln brand during the Super Bowl.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:19 pm

GM, Ford and Chrysler are turning their focus to selling luxury cars — something they haven't succeeded at in decades. They're hoping that success in the competitive but lucrative luxury sector will signal that the U.S. auto industry's comeback is complete.

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Business
3:42 am
Wed December 19, 2012

What Does A Gun Debate Mean For Retailers?

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Companies that make firearms are facing some tough choices, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Yesterday, the private equity group Cerberus Capital Management said it's getting out of the gun business. And one of the largest outlets for firearms, Dick's Sporting Goods, said it is suspending sales of certain kinds of rifles. Wal-Mart has removed a website listing for a rifle similar to the one used by the gunman in Connecticut.

NPR's Sonari Glinton looks at what the gun debate could mean for big business and big retail.

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All Tech Considered
1:31 am
Mon December 17, 2012

New Car Features May Keep Older Drivers Out Of The Big Yellow Taxi

Former British politician Ann Widdecombe tests Ford's active park assist feature in the U.K. in July 2011.
Ford Motor Co.

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 2:08 pm

In some of the most potent cultural images we have of cool cars, they are being driven by young men — Ron Howard cruising in American Graffiti, cousins Bo and Luke from The Dukes of Hazzard sliding over the hood of the General Lee, James Dean behind the wheel of his Porsche.

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Around the Nation
4:36 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Right-To-Work Measure Expected To Pass In Michigan

A right-to-work protester walks past Michigan state police at the capitol in Lansing on Tuesday. The Michigan Legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday that would bar contracts requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 11:29 am

Michigan's Legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday that would bar contracts requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The proposed right-to-work law has infuriated union leaders in a state considered the heart of the union movement.

Republican leaders pushing the bill closely watched the fights over labor rights going on across the Midwest, but it wasn't Ohio or Wisconsin that prompted them into action. Many leaders in the public and private sector looked to their neighbor to the immediate south.

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NPR Story
3:20 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

AAA Says New Ethanol-Gas Blend Could Hurt Cars

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 4:50 pm

AAA has warned against potential damage that a new blend of gasoline could do to some engines. And the warning has started a fight over renewable fuels and the future of what we put in our gas tanks.

The fuel is called E15 — named for the percentage of ethanol in the blend. Most of the gas that's sold in the U.S. has about 10 percent ethanol in it.

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Planet Money
4:28 am
Sat December 1, 2012

Sorry, Mom: The Toyota Avalon Is The Most American Car Made Today

Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 1:26 pm

I grew up in a car family. Not car enthusiasts; car makers. My grandfather worked for General Motors in Detroit on the assembly line beginning in the 1940s. My mother was a middle manager at Ford's Chicago assembly plant in the '70s. I worked at the same plant during summers in the '90s. Today, one of my cousins works for Chrysler and another works for an auto supplier.

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Business
3:00 am
Thu November 29, 2012

The 'Not Too Crazy' Pulls Ahead In Car Race

Toyota unveils its new RAV4 crossover SUV to the media Wednesday before the L.A. Auto Show opens to the public.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 10:55 am

Once upon a time when a car company introduced a new car, it was a new new car.

But at this year's L.A. Auto Show, you won't see any revolutionary new rides — at least not on the outside. You'll find the same sameness in your grocery store parking lot. A lot of cars look alike. Why is that?

"What they're relying on to distinguish these cars from one another is not so much the mechanical pieces of them or the design," says Brian Moody of Autotrader.com. "They're selling sort of a lifestyle or an experience or a philosophy."

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Business
3:22 am
Sat November 24, 2012

More Shopping? Small Retailers Want Your Business

A flag urges customers to shop locally near a store in Boalsburg, Pa., on Friday. Owners of small stores hope to get a boost from Small Business Saturday.
Genaro C. Armas AP

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 11:04 am

Jammed between Gray Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is yet another day devoted to shopping: Small Business Saturday.

Wallets are expected to open yet again on Saturday — this time for mom-and-pop stores. Main Street in Littleton, Colo., is filled with them. The street is lined with small bars and restaurants along with other businesses, including a spice store and a men's clothing boutique.

Dave Drake owns Colorado Frame and Savvy Stuff, the "savvy stuff" being women's accessories, purses, scarves and decorations.

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Business
1:25 am
Thu November 22, 2012

On Thanksgiving, Stores Serve Up A Side Of Shopping

Walmart associate Angel Campos stocks Christmas decorations Wednesday ahead of the pre-Black Friday event at the Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Rosemead, Calif.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 5:11 am

Gray Thursday may become the new Black Friday. Many big retailers have moved up the beginning of their shopping season, traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving, to Thursday evening.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling pressure from online retailers, which have given consumers an earlier shopping option.

"In the past, online retailers have had Thanksgiving Day all to themselves," says Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with the NPD Group. "And what that means is by the time Black Friday comes around, a lot of consumers have already spent a bunch of money."

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Business
3:50 am
Sun November 18, 2012

Tesla Revived The Electric Car, But Can It Sell It?

Tesla workers cheer on the first Tesla Model S cars sold during a rally at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., in June.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 12:13 pm

The American auto industry has a new darling, but it doesn't come from the Big Three or even Motor City. Instead, it comes from the West Coast — Silicon Valley, to be precise.

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All Tech Considered
3:44 am
Sun November 11, 2012

Distracted Driving: We're All Guilty, So What Should We Do About It?

Despite the well-publicized dangers and laws against it in many states, texting or emailing while driving remains a huge problem.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 1:02 pm

One of the most dangerous things you can do behind the wheel of your car is text or check your email. Texting and driving is illegal in 39 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

Despite the danger, millions of us continue to do it. I am ashamed to say that I was one of them.

During the recent presidential campaign, I was on the road — a lot. I was mainly driving on rural roads in places such as Iowa, Indiana and, of course, Ohio. On several occasions I checked my email while driving, and like many people I rationalized my behavior.

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House & Senate Races
3:36 am
Sun November 4, 2012

Rape Comment Hangs Over Senate Race In Indiana

Republican Richard Mourdock, candidate for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat (right) meets Mike Nestor and LoRita Stofleth at Blueberry Hill Pancake House Saturday in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings AP

Originally published on Sun November 4, 2012 12:08 pm

Republicans are hoping to gain control of the U.S. Senate. The path toward victory had Indiana solidly on their side. That was, until Indiana's treasurer Richard Mourdock beat longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in the primary.

Then, during a debate on Oct. 23, Mourdock and his Democratic opponent, Congressman Joe Donnelly, were asked about abortion and contraception. Like Donnelly, Mourdock said he was against abortion.

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Business
3:04 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Chrysler Hit Sales Milestone In October

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Chrysler sales.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Chrysler is again in the news. Today it's not for political reasons, but because the Detroit automaker is selling cars, a lot of them. Chrysler had it best October sales in five years. And Automotive magazine has named Chrysler's CEO its man of the year.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: When auto industry people talk about Chrysler's CEO Sergio Marchionne, they tend to gush.

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It's All Politics
1:46 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Auto Legend Iacocca Backs Romney In Ohio Car Wars

Mitt Romney campaigns Monday in Avon Lake, Ohio.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 3:06 pm

As the presidential race zeroes in on Ohio, and the auto industry gets renewed focus in the all-important swing state, Mitt Romney's campaign is touting the backing of former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca and the company's former president, Hal Sperlich.

"In our opinion, Mitt Romney is the leader we need to help turn our economy around and ensure that the American auto industry is once again a dominant force in the world," Iacocca and Sperlich write on Romney's website.

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It's All Politics
5:06 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

In Ohio, Obama and Romney Duel Over Trade With China

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a roundtable discussion on manufacturing this Wednesday in Bedford Heights, Ohio.
MANDEL NGAN AFP/Getty Images

If there is a boogey man in the Ohio presidential sweepstakes, it's China. According to Bloomberg, the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates have aired nearly 30,000 ads that mention trade with China, many airing in the key swing state of Ohio.

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Presidential Race
4:16 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

In Ohio, China's A Top Campaigning Point

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 5:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

According to Bloomberg, President Obama and Mitt Romney have aired nearly 30,000 TV spots addressing the issue of trade with China, and that's just in the past month. Many of those ads aired in Ohio where both candidates are spending a lot of time. NPR's Sonari Glinton explains the Ohio-China nexus.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: If there's a boogeyman in the Ohio presidential sweepstakes, it's China.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

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Around the Nation
2:49 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Obama, Romney Mine For Swing Voters In Ohio

Coal miners listened as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke during a rally last month in Beallsville, Ohio. Both Romney and President Obama have made the state a focal point of their campaigns.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 9:15 am

Undecided voters in Ohio got a lot of attention this week from President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney. Coal may be the key to many swing voters in the Buckeye State, which remains a top coal producer.

It's an issue weighing on coal miner Rick Carpenter's mind at the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival in southeastern Ohio.

"Save coal — fire Obama. Yeah, I've got one of those signs in my yard," he says.

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Business
1:27 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Chicago Pits Quieter, But Traders' Outcries Linger

Traders work in the bond pit at the Chicago Board of Trade in 1995. In recent decades, much of the trading has left the pits and gone electronic.
Michael S. Green AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 6:18 pm

The trading pits at the Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange have long been potent symbols of American capitalism. And they used to be as rough and tumble as the city itself, where burly men bought and sold commodities like hogs, cattle, corn and soybeans.

Trading volume has gone up considerably in recent years, but Chicago's trading pits are tamer places today — the result of a revolution futures trading has undergone over the past quarter century. Much of the trading has left the pits and gone electronic.

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All Tech Considered
2:24 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Tesla's Big Gamble: Can The Electric Car Go Mainstream?

Tesla workers cheer on one of the first Tesla Model S cars sold, during a rally at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., in June. The company is now unveiling a new network of refueling stations for the vehicles.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:33 pm

Starting a new car company from scratch isn't tried often in the United States. The last time one was truly successful was about 100 years ago. And Tesla Motors, a startup from Silicon Valley, faces some unusual hurdles.

Still, despite the challenges Tesla faces, the electric car company and its CEO, Elon Musk, have gotten further than most automotive entrepreneurs.

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Education
3:58 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Rahm Emanuel Walking A High Wire With Teachers

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

It's the third day of the teachers' strike in Chicago. For the first time in 25 years, teachers are on the picket line and 350,000 students are out of class. The strike poses a unique challenge for Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel. That's because he's also one of President Obama's top fund-raisers and surrogates.

From Chicago, NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

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