Sonari Glinton

Sonari Glinton is a NPR Business Desk Correspondent based at our NPR West bureau. He covers the auto industry, consumer goods, and consumer behavior, as well as marketing and advertising for NPR and Planet Money.

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. In addition, Glinton covered the 2012 presidential race, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well as the U.S. Senate and House for NPR.

Glinton came to NPR in August 2007 and worked as a producer for All Things Considered. Over the years Glinton has produced dozen of segments about the great American Song Book and pop culture for NPR's signature programs most notably the 50 Great Voices piece on Nat King Cole feature he produced for Robert Siegel.

Glinton began his public radio career as an intern at Member station WBEZ in Chicago. He worked his way through his public radio internships working for Chicago Jazz impresario Joe Segal, waiting tables and meeting legends such as Ray Brown, Oscar Brown Jr., Marian MacPartland, Ed Thigpen, Ernestine Andersen, and Betty Carter.

Glinton attended Boston University. A Sinatra fan since his mid-teens, Glinton's first forays into journalism were album revues and a college jazz show at Boston University's WTBU. In his spare time Glinton indulges his passions for baking, vinyl albums, and the evolution of the Billboard charts.

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The epic scope of the Volkswagen scandal brings this question into focus. Is there a viable future for diesel cars in the United States? NPR's Sonari Glinton took that question to some experts.

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The pickup truck - sales of pickup trucks are through the roof especially small trucks. And that says something larger about the auto industry as well as the broader U.S. economy. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from Los Angeles.

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.

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You know, Steve, sometimes we help each other out in here and have a back-and-forth about how to pronounce something.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Yeah, like is it David Greene or David Grenee (ph), for example?

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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.

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If you go for a drive this morning, look around at the other cars. The average car on American streets is more than a decade old. A lot of people put off new purchases during the recession and are just now getting back to buying.

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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.

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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.

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Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season.

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What do you mean? Wait a second. Wait a second. I'm pretty sure it starts right now.

Black Friday sales seem to start earlier and earlier every year. But what makes us want to rush to the stores or online to snap up the best bargains?

Those wall-to-wall TV ads — and the holiday season itself — are tapping into a very primitive part of our brains.

"There is more of a sport to Black Friday shopping, and people expect some deal, but they aren't likely to get the best deal on a particular item because the best deal may have already happened six months ago," says Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail analyst with Forrester Research.

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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.

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