Hindsight is 20/20, the old saying goes. At this point, I’m just glad to put 2020 in the past.
It was an unusually grim trip around the sun. In recent years, it’s been frustrating to see persistently high numbers of traffic deaths in the U.S. — then a new virus comes along and kills about a decade’s worth of American auto travelers in 2020. And it isn’t over.
It might seem an odd time to launch this Automotive News yearbook, but believe me it was planned well before we knew 2020 was going to be, well, so 2020. Our aim is to provide an almanac of sorts, something you might want to keep handy into 2021 or beyond. (That is, for the few of you who don’t hoard a complete collection of past Automotive News issues. Or is that only me?)
Inside, you’ll find our lists of All-Stars, Rising Stars, the biggest dealers and the best ones to work for, as well as our traditional roundups of the year’s top stories and the people we lost. We look back at the vehicles we loved and those that missed the mark — and remind you what’s coming down the road. And we recall how the industry responded to the health crisis, channeling talents and compassion to address the country’s urgent need for ventilators and masks and food and more.
When I reflect on 2020, I think of those kinds of caring actions, as well as the remarkable resilience of the U.S. economy and its auto industry. While too many sectors remain constrained, demand for personal vehicles is robust, manufacturing capacity is strong and dealers have proved themselves as nimble and determined as ever.
I will also forever remember the way that the Automotive News team rallied, working from home — even AN TV produced broadcasts from home — launching the Daily Drive podcasts, setting readership records on autonews.com and continuing to break news and explain developments in our weekly newspaper. It’s our honor to do this for you, our readers.
It all makes me rather hopeful about 2021.
I’m hopeful that enough people will be persuaded to get both vaccine shots so that this carnage can come to an end. And by this fall, maybe, Americans will again be able to enjoy football in crowded stadiums, concerts, dinners, weddings, graduations, automotive shows and galas — the most important things.
Or is that only me? I hope not.