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.



It wasn't just the budget that lawmakers clashed over today. The House and Senate each passed short-term transportation bills. And that sets up yet another showdown over spending, as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: If Congress hadn't passed the short-term transportation bills, beginning this weekend, the government wouldn't have been able to spend money on transportation programs or collect fuel taxes. Disaster averted, right?



Today the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments on the president's health care law. Six hours of arguments will be spread over three days. The court rarely takes that much time for a case. There are only 400 seats available inside the court. Outside the court, people began lining up as early as last Friday to get what they think could be a front row seat to history. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from the steps of the Supreme Court.

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Washington, D.C., was dazzled this week by a VIP. He visited the White and got the prized seat next to the first lady at this week's state dinner.

No, we're not talking about British Prime Minister David Cameron, though he was in town also.

The Senate is on the verge of passing a highway bill. It would spend more than $100 billion on the nation's roads in two years. The bill is expected to pass with bi-partisan support. But it's had an unusual and controversial path.

Ohio's Super Tuesday contest wasn't just about the presidency. Two members of Congress there faced primary challenges — and were defeated. On the Republican side, four-term Rep. Jean Schmidt lost a challenge to Iraq War veteran Brad Wenstrup.

House Majority leader Eric Cantor is pushing a package of small business bills that also has the support of President Obama. The rare instance of cooperation could mark a change in strategy for the House following historically low approval numbers for Congress and rising poll numbers for the president.


SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: And I'm Sonari Glinton traveling with the Rick Santorum campaign in Kalamazoo, Michigan. While Mitt Romney was rocking out to the sounds of Kid Rock, Rick Santorum supporters were being entertained by founding father Patrick Henry.

LAWRENCE WESCO: (as Patrick Henry) I know not what course others might take, but as for me give me liberty or give me death.

As Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum battle for first place in the Michigan GOP presidential primary, rival Ron Paul is not expected to come in first or second. Paul doesn't really stand a chance at winning the nomination, but he can impact the party's platform

Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are neck-and-neck in the polls in the run-up to the Michigan Republican primary on Tuesday.

One group that Romney appears to have an advantage with is Roman Catholic voters despite the fact that he is Mormon and Santorum Catholic.

The disconnect between faith and politics highlights differences among Catholics and shows that some religious voters are focusing more on other issues.

Declaring Faith

Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.

The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.

For a car designer, there's probably no scarier time than the auto show. And there's probably no scarier auto show than the Detroit Auto Show. It's like report-card day for car designers, but there doesn't appear to be much that scares Christine Park, a senior creative designer with Cadillac.

She's very eager to show off the Cadillac XTS. Park led the design of the interior of the XTS — pretty impressive, since she's only 28 and graduated from design school just six years ago.

In many ways, the Detroit Auto Show has become a kind of consumer electronics show for cars, where you're just as likely to see the rollout of a new app or entertainment system as the introduction of next year's models.

"The growth in mechanical changes [has] now become incremental, whereas the growth in the consumer electronics industry seems to be taking place at a rate that is almost unprecedented," says Thomas Tetzlaff, a spokesman for Volkswagen Canada.

Between 1960 and 1976, the Dodge Dart was one of the best-selling cars in America, with its affordable price and rugged styling. More than 3.5 million Darts were sold.

Though the car was never known for being especially stylish or pretty, Chrysler is now reviving the name as the company continues its own revitalization. On Monday, it unveiled the new Dart at the 2012 North American Auto Show in Detroit.

Last year was a very good year for the German automaker Volkswagen, but 2012 could be even better.

Sales for Volkswagen Group's brands — including Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini — increased by 20 percent in the U.S. last year. For the Volkswagen brand itself, sales rose 26.3 percent. And if things continue to go Volkswagen's way, it could become the No. 1 carmaker in the world.

The Iowa caucuses ended with Mitt Romney's extremely narrow victory over Rick Santorum. The first presidential nominating contest of 2012 played out at hundreds of sites across the state. NPR's Sonari Glinton spent the evening at the Van Meter Secondary School.

Despite a sluggish economy, it's been a good year overall for the auto industry. But among the Detroit Three, there's been a clear standout.

Sales of new cars in the U.S. were up by 14 percent last month. One reason is more consumers are getting access to car loans — including those with less than perfect credit.



And let's follow-up now on yesterday's news that American Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It's part of an effort to cut debt and reduce labor costs. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports on what a post-bankruptcy American Airlines might look like.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: During the economic downturn, American Airlines already pared down its work force. Analysts don't think there will be massive layoffs this time.

AARON GELLMAN: Many elements of labor are going to pay a terrible price for this.

Despite the sluggish economy, it's been a pretty good year for luxury carmakers. Deluxe brands such as Mercedes, Volvo and BMW have seen double-digit growth.

But the German carmaker Audi is the standout. It's seen a near tenfold growth in the past 20 years, and the company has also become the new status car for young urban professionals.

Third in a three-part series

The auto industry has work ahead to meet ambitious fuel efficiency goals of 55 miles per gallon by 2025 — nearly twice the current average required. Hybrid and electric cars will play a role, but the plain old internal combustion engine can't be overlooked.

Second in a three-part series

Hybrid cars will take a lot of floor space at the Los Angeles Auto Show beginning this weekend, but they still represent a tiny portion of the U.S. car market.

First in a three-part series

Under fuel-economy rules announced by the White House this summer, cars will have to get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 — nearly double the current average. Reaching that goal will take not only feats of engineering but also changing how Americans think about their cars and how they drive them.



The Los Angeles Auto Show begins today. It's the first of America's car shows and it's where manufacturers put their best foot forward or try to reinvent themselves. One those carmakers is Honda. Honda's production was badly hurt by Japan's earthquake and tsunami, and as it was getting back on track, the floods in Thailand crippled production again. But as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from the L.A. Auto Show, natural disasters may be the least of Honda's problems.



Consumer Reports has come out with its ranking of car reliability. Toyota's Scion brand topped the list. Luxury carmaker Jaguar was at the bottom. Chrysler was rated most improved. NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Okay, here's the Consumer Reports top 10 list: Scion, Lexus, Acura, Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Infiniti, Subaru, Nissan and Volvo. Not one American car brand.

DAVID CHAMPION: I think the fortunes have changed for the Big Three, in some ways.

Members of the United Auto Workers finish voting Tuesday on a new contract with automaker Ford that would mean nearly 6,000 new jobs in U.S. Ford and the UAW both say it's a good deal for the company and its union employees, but many workers remain unconvinced

In its 87 years, Ford's Chicago assembly plant, which is on the city's South Side, has made an array of Fords from to the Model A to the Model T to the latest Ford Taurus.

Orlando Mendoza, who has worked at Ford for 19 years, says he opposes the proposed contract.

Tinkering with success can be a dangerous thing. A redesigned version of the Toyota Camry, America's best-selling car for the past nine years, is going on sale in the U.S.

Toyota recently lost market share and has suffered through bad PR due to recalls, in addition to dealing with the continuing aftereffects of the Japan earthquake. Toyota executives are betting on the new Camry to jump-start the company's future.

Despite a sluggish economy in the U.S., it's been a really good year for Hyundai. The Korean automaker is on track to sell more cars this year than ever before, and it has seen its share of the U.S. market more than double in the past decade.

At first glance, Hyundai may appear to be resorting to slick marketing gimmicks. For instance, the company will guarantee the price of your car, not now but when you trade it in.

After many awful seasons this year's Detroit Lions are — can you believe it — undefeated. To add to the glory, each of the Detroit car makers is showing signs of health with increased quality and profitability. It's long-awaited good news for a city that's been through bad times.

There's no denying that Detroit has had an image problem for quite a while. A whole cottage industry has sprung up over the years with many people from all walks trying to help turn that image around.