Sonari Glinton

NPR Business Reporter Sonari Glinton covers the auto industry and transportation. His reports can be heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday and Sunday.

Glinton came to NPR in August 2007 and worked as a producer for All Things Considered for three years. 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.

Prior to NPR, Glinton spent four years at WBEZ working his way up from intern. While in Chicago he covered the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the late legendary Cook County Board President John Stroger.

For his work on a series uncovering abuse at the Cook Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, Glinton was honored with the Society of Professional Journalist’s Sigma Delta Chi Award for Investigative Reporting.

Glinton’s first name, Sonari, comes from the southern Nigeria language Ijo and means “God hears our cry.” Born and raised in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood, Glinton cheers for the White Sox, Bears and the Bulls in that order. He's also a rabid jazz and Frank Sinatra fan who owns every Sinatra-released recording from 1953-1993. He attended Boston University.

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A new congressional report shows that at least four automakers are still equipping vehicles with the type of Takata air bags that have been responsible for fatalities and injuries worldwide.

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By my count I have helped some 58 friends (including many colleagues in public radio) buy a car. That's sort of funny, considering I didn't buy a car until I was 37 years old and began reporting on the auto industry for NPR.

On Saturdays over the last few years, I have gotten phone calls from friends at car dealerships asking for advice. It's no small financial matter, when the average cost of a new car is roughly $33,000.

So if you are reading this while in a car dealership, do what I tell all my friends: Stand up! Leave the dealership! Do not buy a car today!

Federal regulators have dramatically increased the number of vehicles to be recalled because of defective air bags made by Takata Corp. An additional 35 to 40 million air bag inflators will need to be replaced, according to regulators. The vehicles will be recalled in five stages between now and December 2019.

When I was kid, "What's for dinner?" was not a question you asked at the last minute. My mom, Dorothy Glinton, was an expert at planning what she would put on the table.

"I always knew what I was going to cook. I didn't come in running," Ma recalls.

But these days, even she eats out a few times a week. "But I don't go to a restaurant in the evening," she told me. "I do most of my eating in a grocery story right now, picking up a hot soup, going to a salad bar."

Ever watch The Beverly Hillbillies and wonder why Jed Clampett moved to Beverly Hills and not Texas or some town that we more closely associate with oil?

Even Angelenos forget sometimes that the Clampetts came first, then the swimming pools and movie stars. Think J. Paul Getty or Edward Doheny, men who made their fortunes on oil and then made LA.

Tesla, the maker of electric vehicles, Thursday night unveiled its mass-market Model 3. The car is expected to have a range of 215 miles at a base price of $35,000 ($27,500 after federal tax credits).

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told a crowd of loyal fans in Hawthorne, Calif., he is "fairly confident" the vehicle will go on sale in 2017. That the assembled crowd laughed at the statement is a sign of the near-cult following Tesla (and Musk) enjoy.

By 10 p.m. PDT, the company had received 140,000 advance orders, according to Musk, for a car almost no one had seen.

Made in China.

You can see those words stamped on countless consumer products — electronics, clothes, but not cars. For the first time on a mass scale, a car built in China will be on sale in the United States — the Buick Envision.

China is the largest car market in the world. Chinese shoppers easily buy twice as many cars as Americans do. Chinese companies have been investing billions in the auto industry. The latest example is Volvo — the Swedish carmaker known for its boxy, safe, brazenly unstylish vehicles is pride of the Swedish car industry.

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If self-driving cars kind of freak you out but you like the idea, there's now an alternative. They're called semi-autonomous cars, and you're still the driver, but so much is automated that it may not feel that way.

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The North American International Auto Show opened to the public today in Detroit. It's one of the biggest auto shows in America.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The 2016 North American Car of the Year is the Honda Civic.

The North American International Auto Show is a place where car industry gathers to celebrate — and in recent years to apologize. At this year's show in Detroit, it was Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller's turn to face the media.

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This week, an increasing number of consumers are going online to take advantage of Black Friday deals.

Sales for what's known as one of the biggest shopping days of the year were up 20 percent this year, and most of those online shoppers were using smartphone apps.

If you want to get a glimpse of just how difficult it is out here for retailers, just ask 11-year-old Ava Bassarat, who's on a mission to buy an iPod Touch.

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Volkswagen was recently brought to its knees when scientists discovered the company had installed a device in its diesel-powered cars to fool emissions tests. Its stock price tanked, its reputation has been damaged and its CEO resigned on Wednesday.

So who made the discovery that sent the German car giant into a tailspin? A group of scientists at West Virginia University.

Few images evoke the lazy hazy days of summer more than a convertible driving down the coast. Soon, though, that image may be pure nostalgia.

Sales of convertibles have seen a steep decline, falling by more than 40 percent in the past decade alone. And with new, tougher fuel economy standards, the days of riding with the top down could be numbered.

Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book has owned a 1962 convertible Corvette for nearly 40 years. Nerad lives in Orange County, Calif., a seemingly ideal place for a convertible, but his classic car often stays at home.

In drought-stricken California, golf is often seen as a bad guy — it can be hard to defend watering acres of grass for fun when residents are being ordered to cut their usage and farmers are draining their wells.

But golf is a $6 billion industry in the state and employs nearly 130,000 workers, according to the California Golf Course Owners Association. So while the greens are staying green, some golf courses are saving every drop of water they can.

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Concept cars tell us much more about the current state of the auto industry than the future of it.

Showcasing the latest in styling and technology, concept cars have been virtually absent from auto shows for the past few years, but now they're back with a vengeance.

The concept cars at the Detroit auto show this year look pretty normal, but Bill Visnic of Edmunds.com says it wasn't that long ago that concept cars were just plain wack.

For the Detroit automakers, there's likely no bigger prize than being the No. 1 truck. Pickups represent the lion's share of profits and the industry's recent growth.

Sales of cars surged in December, and analysts believe that the year's total will exceed 17 million, making it the fifth straight year of growth for the industry.

Cheap gas prices helped make that happen, as sales of trucks, SUVs and luxury vehicles rose rapidly. Jeep's sales, for instance, were up 40 percent on increased consumer demand for crossover SUVs. Meanwhile, demand for hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles shrank.

Scott Painter, founder and CEO of auto sales website TrueCar, says those trends aren't necessarily good for the industry as a whole.

More than 60 million cars, trucks and SUVs have been recalled this year — nearly twice the previous record. That translates to nearly 1 out of every 4 cars on the road recalled for a safety-related defect.

But analysts say those recalls say more about the way the industry has restructured than about overall car safety.

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.

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.

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.

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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