The year 2016 is running slowly. 7 weeks to go, it's history. It was an annus horribilis for the Saab brand - a terrible year. It was our hope for many years that Saab would come back to the market. Which became weaker and weaker, but somehow remained present in the background.
Since summer of this year, the hope is past. The Saab signs at work are disappearing, an era of Swedish industrial culture is now a case for historians. Our mission is fulfilled.
What will become of the blog?
Any halfway sensible person would now take the opportunity to pull the plug at the end of the year. And any halfway realistic reader would understand that. Because things are clear in the medium term. There will be fewer and fewer readers, possibly fewer blog supporters. At the same time, the effort will continue to increase. This year was already extremely demanding; there were articles that took months of preparation and research to deliver 5 minutes of reading.
The blog is a dinosaur.
In almost 6 years we have experienced a lot - and survived. The crazy time with Victor Muller, the tragic bankruptcy. The work of the bankruptcy trustees, the struggle for the Saab Museum. Disappointment and hope with NEVS, and more and more young timer topics on the blog. The blog has changed, ongoing, and only in this way could it survive. If on normal days there are still more than 3.000 people visiting the blog every day, that's a little crazy. The lunatic factor, as Saab used to say.
The fact is that the great Saab blog culture, with many bloggers around the world, is now almost history. And our project, as one of the last dinosaurs, still holds the Saab flag up.
We have thought a lot about the possible future in the past few weeks. Via the blog, about possible future projects, about their financing. There are two, actually three, options. Probably the worst of all would be to stop the blog.
The second, Plan B so to speak, would be to switch to the Youngtimer blog. It hasn't been maintained in years but stayed online for good reason. As a last retreat with the opportunity to write an article about old Saab sheet metal every week.
The third option would be to rebuild the blog again. To make him fit for the new era without any hope of a comeback for the brand. Mark and I have some ideas that might work.
Open the blog to additional authors. We are currently trying out direct access as a guest author with some readers. Readers who want to write about their Saab hobby at irregular intervals no longer have to submit their articles by email. In the future, you can directly access our infrastructure - in our eyes, the option of a contemporary solution that avoids duplicate work. We will decide in the next few weeks whether and to what extent we will do this in 2017.
The clubs on the blog.
Access for the clubs. We have already decided to have access for the Saab clubs. From January 2017, we will give the clubs access to the blog if they wish. The 1. We have already granted German Saab Club access. He is organizer of the International Saab Club meeting 2017 in Dinslaken and has a lot to publish in the coming year.
Digital Saab platform
The blog as a digital Saab platform and archive. Another sophisticated option is the digitization of the Saab history. Some readers and friends have Saab documents, manuals, brochures that would fill a large truck. Digitizing them and preserving them permanently is a major challenge. We have an “archivist” in prospect who would do the work. And we have readers who would share their historical treasures with digitization.
What will not come, we have also thought about it, is the permanent presence of another brand on the blog. NEVS would be the absolute exception, even on the basis of historical circumstances. It will stay that way.
The next weeks
It is clear that we want to continue writing the blog. Even if the situation is difficult, we don't want to just pull the plug. At least we want to use the year 2017 to redesign the blog in one way or another and thus, hopefully, make it safe for the future. It is clear that it will not be easier to keep the Saab Spirit alive in the coming years.
The challenge is defined, and we are looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
Like 2015, we will ask readers for blog support again this year. We ask once a year, and readers and fans who like to read the blog this year can help us with their personal contribution to the tasks ahead. It will be time again next week.
At the end of the year there will be a major technical update on the blog. The appearance will not change much, but we are building for online access, more storage space and future options. The blog then has to go offline for some time. But he's coming back.