Sonari Glinton

On first blush, the death of the young actor Anton Yelchin, who starred in recent Star Trek movies, seemed just a freak accident, but it might be connected to a known defect in his SUV.

Yelchin's body was found pinned between his car and a fence. His Jeep Grand Cherokee had apparently rolled into Yelchin after he exited the car.

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A new congressional report shows that at least four automakers are still equipping vehicles with the type of Takata air bags that have been responsible for fatalities and injuries worldwide.

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By my count I have helped some 58 friends (including many colleagues in public radio) buy a car. That's sort of funny, considering I didn't buy a car until I was 37 years old and began reporting on the auto industry for NPR.

On Saturdays over the last few years, I have gotten phone calls from friends at car dealerships asking for advice. It's no small financial matter, when the average cost of a new car is roughly $33,000.

So if you are reading this while in a car dealership, do what I tell all my friends: Stand up! Leave the dealership! Do not buy a car today!

Federal regulators have dramatically increased the number of vehicles to be recalled because of defective air bags made by Takata Corp. An additional 35 to 40 million air bag inflators will need to be replaced, according to regulators. The vehicles will be recalled in five stages between now and December 2019.

When I was kid, "What's for dinner?" was not a question you asked at the last minute. My mom, Dorothy Glinton, was an expert at planning what she would put on the table.

"I always knew what I was going to cook. I didn't come in running," Ma recalls.

But these days, even she eats out a few times a week. "But I don't go to a restaurant in the evening," she told me. "I do most of my eating in a grocery story right now, picking up a hot soup, going to a salad bar."

Ever watch The Beverly Hillbillies and wonder why Jed Clampett moved to Beverly Hills and not Texas or some town that we more closely associate with oil?

Even Angelenos forget sometimes that the Clampetts came first, then the swimming pools and movie stars. Think J. Paul Getty or Edward Doheny, men who made their fortunes on oil and then made LA.

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It seems the quality of the cars we drive is on the decline, so says a report from J.D. Power and Associates. The thing bothering consumers, not the engine or safety, it's the entertainment. Here's NPR's Sonari Glinton.

Made in China.

You can see those words stamped on countless consumer products — electronics, clothes, but not cars. For the first time on a mass scale, a car built in China will be on sale in the United States — the Buick Envision.

China is the largest car market in the world. Chinese shoppers easily buy twice as many cars as Americans do. Chinese companies have been investing billions in the auto industry. The latest example is Volvo — the Swedish carmaker known for its boxy, safe, brazenly unstylish vehicles is pride of the Swedish car industry.

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The North American International Auto Show opened to the public today in Detroit. It's one of the biggest auto shows in America.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The 2016 North American Car of the Year is the Honda Civic.

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The North American International Auto Show is a place where car industry gathers to celebrate — and in recent years to apologize. At this year's show in Detroit, it was Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller's turn to face the media.

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Now let's talk about a company managing bad news. Volkswagen ends the year struggling to recover after admitting it cheated on emissions tests. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

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This week, an increasing number of consumers are going online to take advantage of Black Friday deals.

Sales for what's known as one of the biggest shopping days of the year were up 20 percent this year, and most of those online shoppers were using smartphone apps.

If you want to get a glimpse of just how difficult it is out here for retailers, just ask 11-year-old Ava Bassarat, who's on a mission to buy an iPod Touch.

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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.

Volkswagen was recently brought to its knees when scientists discovered the company had installed a device in its diesel-powered cars to fool emissions tests. Its stock price tanked, its reputation has been damaged and its CEO resigned on Wednesday.

So who made the discovery that sent the German car giant into a tailspin? A group of scientists at West Virginia University.

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