Every year, right around now, as snowflakes fly in Detroit and Chicago and Stuttgart and Beijing, the auto industry comes alive with bustling gatherings and gala celebrations of the business. Glittering auto shows, the high-energy yearly dealer convention, the great annual global meeting of engineers with their technical papers …
Obviously, that's not happening now. The industry is trudging through a different interpersonal reality in the winter of 2021. We are confined, instead, to meetings via Microsoft Teams. We embrace the spotty connections and camera views of speakers' dining rooms.
But that's fine. The pandemic will not keep the car business down. The industry will endure this lonely passage of not being able to shake hands and pat backs, of not serendipitously running into future employers, of not being able to exchange whispered business insights over a hotel bar.
The big events will surely return. The crowds will regather and the convention centers will light back up. The excitement and zest are still there, make no mistake.
But — lest anyone lose sight of them — here are some of the traditional winter gathering spots where automotive people normally would be mingling and exchanging ideas right now.