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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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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.

Union workers at Ford have ratified a new contract that does not include wage increases for most workers — but does obligate Ford to create 5,750 new jobs in the U.S.

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.

All cities have PR campaigns to attract tourists and business travelers. In Detroit, the city is doing a publicity blitz to make residents feel good about their hometown, and to urge them to volunteer to make Detroit a better place to live.

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.

After more than 30 years, production of the Ford Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car has ended. The large, gas guzzling, rear-wheel drive behemoths have been the favorites of limo drivers, taxi drivers and police officers for more than a generation.

The end of the Town Car and the Crown Vic, as it's affectionately known, comes as Ford tries to become a hipper and more fuel-efficient company.

Not having a summer or after-school job affects more than just a kid's wallet. It also has real consequences for his or her personal and economic development.

While the overall unemployment rate is stuck at 9.1 percent, the unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds has been going up since February. Currently 25.4 percent of teenagers who want jobs can't find them.

The volatile stock market has people worried.

After the downgrade of Treasury Bonds by Standard & Poor's, consumers might be less likely to buy a home, car or other big ticket item if they believe the economy is going south.

But even as the market suffers through fits and falls, people are visiting car dealers. On a recent day, Jack Myers was trading in his gigantic, black 2002 Chevy pickup at a dealership in southeast Michigan.

"Well this [truck] is eating gas," Myers said, "and we [want] something more economical. We're purchasing a hybrid."

If the monthly jobless numbers aren't saying much, the longer-term employment trends in the United States are speaking volumes about the economy.

Those trends aren't often mentioned. The number of people who are long-term unemployed remains unchanged — more than 6 million people. The number of "discouraged workers" also remains the same. Those are people who are not looking for work because they believe there are no jobs.

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