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.

The car industry is required to raise the average fuel efficiency of its vehicles to 54.5 miles a gallon by 2025. But consumers have been reluctant to adopt hybrid technology that'll get the industry there quicker.

That means the car companies have to find other ways to get fuel savings.

If you were to guess, how important would you say fuel economy is to the car business? How much of the research and development is going into making cars more efficient?



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. A blistering report was released today about why General Motors failed to recall millions of vehicles with a defective part - a faulty ignition switch that has been linked to at least 13 deaths. The report, prepared by a former U.S. attorney, details a pattern of incompetence and misconduct that reached the executive floors at the auto company. In response, GM has dismissed 15 employees and is creating a victims' compensation fund. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from Detroit.



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Melissa Block. Google is getting into the car business - the self-driving car business, that is. Google is throwing away the steering wheel in the pedals, building prototypes of a cozy two-seater designed for city driving.

The Internet is coming to your car. Later this year, General Motors will put Internet connectivity directly into its vehicles. It's the largest auto company to do so.

Of course, safety advocates have some concerns about more distractions for drivers.

The promise of technology is always the same one — that it's going to make our life easier. But anyone who's tried to make a hands-free call in the car knows that's not always true. A task as simple as asking your device to call your mom can be an exasperating experience.



This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

The federal government is hitting General Motors with its maximum fine for delays in an auto recall, $35 million. It's a response to GM's recall of cars with faulty ignition switches, a defect that's been linked to 13 deaths.

And as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, today's agreement with the Department of Transportation won't close the books on the problem.



Some states have had an easier time than others climbing out of the jobs hole. One of them is Minnesota. Its unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, well below the national average. NPR's Sonari Glinton went to Minnesota to find out why.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: One of the places that's seen growth in Minnesota is St. Cloud. Now, it's about 65 miles northwest of downtown Minneapolis. That's where I met up with Brian Schoenborn. He's a lawyer and he helped develop a part of the downtown area called Fifth Avenue Live.



Not so good news for another bank. Bank of America, which is on the hook for nearly $800 million in fines and refunds. That's to settle allegations from credit card holders, of deceptive marketing and unfair billing. Regulators say nearly three million credit card holders were affected. The settlement is a major victory for a young federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.



Another major auto recall today, this time it's Toyota. The Japanese auto giant is recalling 6.4 million vehicles worldwide for a variety of defects, including problems with seat rails and airbags. No injuries have been reported. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports this particular recall is not happening in a vacuum.

During her grilling before Congress last week, General Motors CEO Mary Barra insisted the new General Motors is different and better than the old one.

So as GM begins to fix nearly 2.6 million vehicles for an ignition-switch defect that has been linked to at least 13 deaths, we decided to put that claim to the test.

Exactly how new is the new GM?

NBC's Saturday Night Live answered with a parody version of Barra's explanation:



This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Steve Inskeep.

There was only one thing the new head of General Motors could really say about its recall of defective vehicles. The recall was a decade in coming, and the defect has been linked to at least 13 deaths.

Mary Barra faced questions about it yesterday before Congress.


The new head of General Motors, Mary Barra, goes to Capitol Hill Tuesday to begin two days of testimony.

It's the first time she'll be questioned about a safety defect that's been linked to at least 13 deaths and has sparked a 2.6 million-vehicle recall.

At issue for the Detroit CEO is a classic question: What did GM know about the problems with ignition switch problems in its cars, and when did the company know it?

And just as important for GM and government regulators is the follow-up question: Why did no one act sooner?

In the past week, Volkswagen recalled 150,000 Passats because of potential hood problems that could damage the headlights, and Honda recalled 900,000 Odyssey vans because of a potential fire hazard.

Those moves follow the recent General Motors recall of 1.6 million vehicles over a faulty ignition switch, which has been linked to 12 deaths. It took the company nearly a decade to inform the public of the problem.

Toyota will pay $1.2 billion to end a federal criminal probe into a vehicle recall. Federal regulators said five people died in accidents related to unintended acceleration prior to the recall.

General Motors is at the center of several investigations involving last month's recall of 1.6 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches. The recall comes at a pivotal time for the company.

Both houses of Congress are set to investigate, and the Justice Department is reportedly looking into why it took GM so long to inform the public. GM may have known about the problem for a decade.

General Motors is coming under mounting criticism for its handling of a serious defect. Last month, the company recalled 1.6 million vehicles because of faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths. The cars, made from 2003-2007, could stall or fail to deploy their airbags.

It's an issue GM has known about for a while, and now Congress wants to know why it took the automaker almost a decade to warn the public about it.

The United States has threatened economic sanctions against Moscow, but America is light on financial leverage in Russia: The country represents less than 1 percent of U.S. trade, and few major U.S. companies have significant investments there.

But one company with a long history in Russia is Pepsi.

So how did the American soft drink giant get its foot in the door to build a major market in Russia?



Russia put on a spectacular closing show for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi last night, with fireworks, Russian music and dance, and a thousand children singing Russia's national anthem. As always, the games were full of the sort of drama and surprises that make them one of the world's great spectacles.

Sonari Glinton is about to turn out the lights in NPR's Sochi bureau, but before he does, let's get the low-down from him about the two-plus weeks of competition.



This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

If there is such a thing as a home rink advantage, that makes the competition in the women's figure skating program fierce. Russian fans erupted with glee for Adelina Sotnikova on Wednesday. And then there's Yulia Lipnitskaya, a 15-year-old Russian phenom who has thrilled Russian fans and stunned the figure skating world.

Scott Hamilton, a 1984 figure skating gold medalist, has been watching Lipnitskaya closely.

"She's beyond her years. Like, you look at her and she qualified [to be age-eligible] for the Olympics by days," he says.

In Sochi, balmy weather has bedeviled some snowboarders and skiers. The snow is sometimes, well, slush. But inside the Winter Olympics' arenas, the ice is universally praised, though it's taking some work to keep things cool.

It's not the heat, it's the humidity that's leading ice makers to work overtime at the games.

That's paid off, because athletes in Sochi have been gushing about the ice.

Some unfortunate falls have changed the outlook for men's figure skating. Japan and Canada are in the lead. And, Russian star Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the competition because of a back problem.

What's the hardest sport at the Winter Games — biathlon, aerial skiing, snowboarding, or high-flying slopestyle?

Jeremy Abbott thought it was one of those until an Olympic official told him otherwise. "Hands down," he was told, "absolutely, figure skating is the hardest."

Abbott may not completely agree, but he says it's the rare affirmation he's gotten as a male figure skater.

U.S. speedskating took a big hit in Sochi today, coming out of the 1,000-meter competition with no medals. The team's highest rank was eighth, earned by Shani Davis, who has dominated this race in the past.

As always, if you're among those who don't want to know who's won what until NBC-TV's primetime show is on the air, stop reading now. For those who do like to know what's happening, here's a quick look at the medals already awarded today and some of what's coming later on:

Russia won its first Olympic gold on Sunday. The Olympic host took first in the team figure skating, a new event for these games. Canada won silver and the U.S. team won bronze.

Speedskating is the U.S.'s most successful winter Olympic Sport. In Sochi this year, great things are expected again.

The secret to their success includes talent, skill and hard work, but there's also a network of support that buoys the team.

Two-time gold medalist Shani Davis is looking to win a history-making third: He would be the first speedskater to win the same event in three different Olympics.

There's always a lot of drama in figure skating, and not necessarily on the ice. There's the judging and the personalities — think Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

The Winter Games begin Thursday in Sochi, Russia.

Thousands of athletes and journalists have already converged on the city along the coast of the Black Sea, and spectators will be streaming in this week. But ahead of the games, the real race is to see if all the last-minute preparations can be completed in time.

So my week at the North American International Auto Show is wrapping up. It's my fourth Detroit Auto Show. And boy has it come a long way.

There is a vibrancy and spirit this year that's different than other shows. There's also been a lot more money spent. The tenor of the show is very different than when the federal government had an ownership stake in Chrysler and General Motors.