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.

Digital tools make starting a small business easier than ever. There are apps and websites to incorporate, find lawyers, make payroll, manage HR and marketing. Convenience can come at a price, however, if it means entrepreneurs aren't making personal connections as they establish their businesses.

Over the last year of so, Tesla motors has received some really good press. But this past week, it's been knocked off its pedestal.

"We're a country that likes to put things up on pedestals and then tear them down from pedestals. We do that with people, I think we do that with things," says Jack Nerad, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Stock in the electric carmaker Tesla has been tumbling. That's after a video of a Tesla Model S on fire went viral. The high-end carmaker has lost billions of dollars of in value in just a few days.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

U.S. auto sales slipped 4 percent last month. The only major winners were Ford and Chrysler as automakers were dragged down by a quirk of the calendar and the beginning signs of skittish consumers.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

JPMorgan Chase will have to pay more than $900 million in fines for the way it handled the London Whale trading scandal. Last year, the company revealed that its traders in London had lost $6 billion, and then concealed the losses from executives.

While large fines aren't unusual, it is unusual that federal regulators forced the bank to admit to wrongdoing. But this is exactly what happened. NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's focus like a laser on this next story. For the last month, NPR and Youth Radio have been reporting on the changing relationship between the millennial generation and the automobile.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When I try to imagine my dream car, I draw a blank and then I reach for my phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The symbol of freedom isn't the car anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: I'm not sure that any car company really understands this generation of buyers.

Part of a series of stories produced in collaboration with Youth Radio on the changing car culture in America.

In an effort to attract young people to cars, automakers have set up shop in Silicon Valley and are looking to the digital world as a way to lure them.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

If economists looking at the housing sector are generally optimistic, those who follow the auto industry are practically brimming with glee. Right now, the average age of cars on the road is the oldest ever recorded, at 11-and-a-half years, which means at some time, people will have to buy newer ones. As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, that time may be now.

This is the first of a series of stories produced in collaboration with Youth Radio on the changing car culture in America.

When you're a teenager, there are many things you desperately want to find: friends, fun, a future, freedom.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Earnings season is wrapping up in the car world. And the small American company Tesla is doing better than expected. When the high-end electric automaker released its earnings this week, it handily beat Wall Street expectations. Tesla's stock is up about 300 percent this year.

As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, the question is, whether the company has enough power to sustain it for the long term.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

General Motors is selling a lot of cars in China. The company set a sales record there in July.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports China is in the front line in the battle for automotive global dominance.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: In China this year, forecasters predict nearly 20 million cars will be sold. In the U.S., the bet is we'll sell about 15 and a half million.

Mike Wall is with IHS Automotive.

MILE WALL: Yeah, you really can't overstate the importance of China in the overall global automotive landscape.

The labor market continues its recovery; the economy added 162,000 jobs in July and pushed the unemployment rate to a 4.5-year low. After a string of bad news, things seem to be to turning around for African-American workers, too.

"The operative word is growth," says Bill Rodgers, an economist at Rutgers University.

The reigning king in the truck world is the Ford F-150, and it's been that way for a couple of decades. But staying on top is getting harder.

With new, tougher fuel standards looming there is a lot of emphasis on efficiency and innovation. On Wednesday, Ford is announcing its flagship truck is taking a step into the alternative fuel world with a vehicle that can run on natural gas.

When you look at their bottom lines and their advertising you realize that the Detroit Three make cars, but they're really truck companies, especially Ford.

The debt-laden city of Detroit has been an incubator for new strategies in urban revitalization, including a downtown People Mover, casinos, urban farms, artist colonies and large scale down-sizing.

In the wake of the city's bankruptcy, many in the community are thinking small.

Just outside of downtown Detroit is a neighborhood called Midtown. Like many hip, urban neighborhoods, it's got hipsters on fixed geared bikes, yoga studios, boutiques for dogs.

The news out of Detroit has been grim of late, but there are some bright spots coming from one corner of the Motor City. On Thursday, General Motors posted its 14th straight profitable quarter since emerging from bankruptcy. Ford announced its 16th consecutive profitable quarter Wednesday, and Chrysler is expected to offer good news soon as well.

Morning Edition has reported that the Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in the U.S., and the Ford Focus is the world's best-seller.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The economy added 195,000 jobs in June. That was a surprise and a delight to both economists and Wall Street. But the unemployment rate was stuck at 7.6 percent.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports that the economic recovery continues at a slow but steady pace.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. Well, here's some better news for automakers. In June, cars and trucks sold at a rate close to pre-recession levels. The Detroit automakers all saw gains, as did the big Japanese firms.

Here's NPR's Sonari Glinton.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: There is one number that's important to auto executives, and that number is...

JESSICA CALDWELL: The SAAR.

GLINTON: Come Again?

CALDWELL: The SAAR, the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate.

There is one basic question that keeps being asked about the U.S. auto industry: Is it on the rebound?

"People ask a lot, is the auto industry back?" says Kristin Dziczek, a director at the Center for Automotive Research. "And it depends on what scale you want to look at."

So if we're looking at scales, let's start with productivity. In this case, how many work hours it takes to build a car. Productivity in U.S. plants is 39 percent higher than it was in 2000. "Productivity has never been this high," Dziczek says.

In Los Angeles, the business of fashion is big. The apparel business employs as many as 45,000 workers in L.A. County, many of them immigrants.

Consequently, the garment industry is worried about the outcome of the immigration debate and watching closely to see what happens.

'You Don't Have Another Choice'

One of the heavyweights is American Apparel, which makes more than 40 million articles of clothing each year out of its factory near downtown L.A.

Los Angeles is the world leader in the most American of clothing items: bluejeans. High-end, hand-stitched, designer bluejeans that will you run well over $100 a pair.

But as the U.S. apparel industry continues to shrink, LA's bluejeans business faces a threat: a nearly 40 percent tariff, imposed by the European Union, that could cripple the city's jean business.

When people talk about Ilse Metchek they use phrases like "she's a piece of work," "a force of nature," "she's something else." If you want to talk fashion, she's your lady.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April. That exceeded the expectations of economists. It also drove down the unemployment rate to a four-year low, 7.5 percent. Unfortunately, the biggest gains were in lower-paying fields like hospitality and temp agencies. And as the school year comes to a close and young people start looking, the question is will there be enough work for them. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Proof of Martha Stewart's ongoing commercial appeal has been on display in a New York courtroom. Yesterday, an appeals court decided that department store J.C. Penney can continue selling a new line of housewares designed by Stewart. But the ruling keeps Macy's from having the exclusive rights to the brand.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: There is one reason why both J.C. Penney and Macy's want Martha Stewart.

MARSHAL COHEN: She's had a history of having success.`

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Atlantic Coast of the U.S. took an economic hit six months ago from Hurricane Sandy. It left behind damaged businesses, homes and hundreds of thousands of waterlogged vehicles.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports that it's still affecting the auto industry.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Much of the physical damage of Sandy has been cleaned up, but if you didn't live in the storm's path, it's hard to contemplate the scope of destruction - especially when it comes to cars.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Auto executives got a grilling on Capitol Hill yesterday. Not the usual suspects from Detroit's Big Three. Think much, much smaller. Executives from the hybrid carmaker Fisker testified about hundreds of millions of dollars in loans Fisker got from the government. Today, the company is on the verge of collapse.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Fisker, the car company, isn't dead yet. But Congress has already begun the autopsy.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the tale of two companies.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Google and Microsoft quarterly earnings reports are in and it appears their slugfest continues with Google's earnings up 23 percent and Microsoft up 18 percent. That is even as sales of desktop computers decline.

GREENE: As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, the future for both companies is on the small screen.

The Focus is the best-selling "nameplate" worldwide, followed by the Toyota Corolla, new data shows. Ford's sales have jumped in recent years as it dropped unsuccessful models and adopted a single global manufacturing system.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's look now at a vital part of the Japanese economy: the auto industry. While vehicle sales in the United States last month were at the highest level since August of 2007, Japanese auto sales decreased by nearly 16 percent. That is just the latest in a six-month slide for auto sales in Japan. In today's business bottom line, NPR's Sonari Glinton looks at Japan's faltering domestic auto sector.

Two startup automakers with big ambitions for electric vehicles appear to be headed in different directions. Luxury plug-in hybrid maker Fisker has hired a law firm to advise it on a possible bankruptcy, according to multiple published reports. Electric car maker Tesla announced on Monday that it expects to turn its first ever profit in the first quarter.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an appetite for oil.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Researchers say they see a plateau in the demand for oil. A new report says demand could level off by the end of this decade, and that's a lot sooner than expected, as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

Pages