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.

The Japanese automaker Toyota has taken its fair share of hits in the past year and a half: The earthquake and tsunami in Japan as well as last year's recall fiasco have helped erode the company's share of the U.S. car market.

But one place Toyota remains No. 1 is with minority car buyers — Latinos, African-Americans and Asian-Americans continue to buy more Toyotas than any other car brand, domestic or foreign.

Toyota's claim on the minority market has the Rev. Jesse Jackson questioning other car companies' practices.

President Obama spent Friday pushing job creation in manufacturing, but he's getting increasing pressure for job results from a key part of his base: African Americans.

The unemployment rate for black men is about double the national average — and economists don't expect that number to fall to the single digits anywhere in the near future.

The U.S. auto market is slowly rebounding. But even as sales increase, they're still not at the peaks hit 10 years ago. In 2000 and 2001, more than 17 million automobiles were sold in America. Last year, just under 12 million were sold.

But many analysts, dealers and executives believe the industry is actually healthier selling far fewer cars.

"That 16 to 17 million sales level that we experienced was not a normal situation," says Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of car site

He says a lot of the factors that kept car sales high won't be seen again.

Car sales in the U.S. have stalled. Right now, GM sells more cars in China than it does here.

Around the world, American brands have a much higher "cool factor" than they do here at home. And U.S. car companies are looking to exploit that.

The future of the American car companies can be summed up in one acronym, BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The big winner in the auto industry in the last few months has been the Korean automaker Hyundai. Last month while car sales stalled, Hyundai had its biggest month ever. Analysts point to Hyundai's success as a sign of the increasingly competitive nature of the U.S. car market. Long gone are the days of the Big Three; now it's more like the Big Thirteen. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports on Hyundai and the fractured American car market.