By lunchtime Tuesday it was apparent that something was missing in Traverse City.
In the first day and a half of this year's Management Briefing Seminars there wasn't any substantive discussion about China.
OK. The panel topics about engineering, materials, information technology and manufacturing processes weren't real really where you would expect a knock-down, drag-out debate about the opportunities and perils in China.
But it's hard to believe that any auto industry conference in this day and age could get through that many presentations without considerable talk about fear and loathing in China. Not even in the hallways during the cookie breaks.
It meant that attendees were paying attention to the topics at hand. And it was a nice break from the recent pounding flood of news about fear and loathing in China.
That changed a little when the specter of China's growing capacity was the bogey man in Tuesday afternoon's Manufacturing Competitiveness Forum. After all, the drive to improve manufacturing competitiveness means looking over your shoulder to see if China is gaining on you.
And over coffee, Chuck Koehn, a Chrysler group executive on loan to the Automotive Industry Action Group, talked about the need to protect the industry's intellectual property rights there. That became clear to him when an AIAG official came home from China with a pirated copy of AIAG's Materials Management Operating Guidelines that had been floating around in China.
China may have been missing from the first couple of days in Traverse City, but that's bound to change when execs start talking about the broader, global issues facing automakers and suppliers. China is part of the stormy weather facing the industry.
Face it, Monday and Tuesday were just the calm before the storm.