I'm probably most surprised by Allen. The year 2019 is almost finished, and the blog still exists. I would not have wanted to bet on that at the beginning of the year. Too clear, all signs pointed south, it has come once again different. Is that the lunatic factor of Saab? A not uninteresting question ...
I had somehow arranged with it. The blog has been losing reach since 2012. Each year a few percentage points, as well as the Saab stock shrinks. No drama, more the course of events that seems inevitable. But this year everything was different. A plus of around 20% will probably be in the statistics at the end of the year. Somehow unbelievable and against every trend. Thus, the blog is clear about the years 2018 and 17, but under the year 2016. And still under the brand of 1 million readers a year.
It is unlikely that this brand will ever be found again. Also, when the number of blog subscribers has reached a new high. The readership is too elitist and the choice of topics too limited. Still, it's fun to see a positive result, and it confirms the theme mix this year.
The blog became noticeably more international this year. The pages are translated via AI into 9 other languages. The result is sometimes "trolly", but is getting better and the service is rewarded. This leads to exciting stories, and one notices how internationally the brand is rooted. A concrete effect: Currently we help - together with blog supporters Skandix - A Saab driver in Kenya to get his 9-5 sedan back on the road.
At the beginning of the year Evergrande entered the stage. Not that I had the company on the screen before. His claim as a car manufacturer came as a surprise, probably not only for me. This changes everything in Trollhättan; NEVS will eventually be completely absorbed and absorbed into the Evergrande group. What is left of Saab? Hard to say! Probably not, but you should wait and see what happens.
To take seriously is what is going on in Trollhättan, definitely. Evergrande maintains an extreme proximity to the Communist Party of China and to the state leadership. What is decided there has weight and maybe impact on the entire car industry. The billion dollar bet is on and that a lot of money does not have to stand for good products is another story.
In any case, the Evergrande story only makes history very limited. I see her as an observer concerned about the future of the old Saab factory and its legacy. My ambitions have long since taken a completely different direction.
Even the small Saab world can hardly decouple from the general development. Saab fans are a very pleasant crowd. They help make it fun to write the blog. Actually! Things were different this year - and there was trouble. Some readers have always said that they have to place comments with a very clear political symbolism. According to the mainstream, which at the moment gives way to a political trend.
These comments were deleted immediately, these commenters permanently blocked. No tolerance in this regard, and for any political expression in any way there are other platforms that are suitable for it. The same was true of the commentators, who thought they had to let off steam here with posts that were offensive and below the belt. In recent years, they have been released on probation, so to speak. What was meant well, unfortunately, in the effect of more and more work and moderation. In the second half of the year we fundamentally rethought our strategy. Locked is locked, and permanently.
How 2020 could go on ...
The day before yesterday I phoned Mark. The usual annual conversation about the future, and we were surprisingly quick to agree. Which was not the case every year. Do we want to keep 2020 blogging? Yes, we want, if somehow we get a budget together again. It's getting harder every year, and we'll probably ask readers for support next year. If we get together a budget to work with, the blog for 2020 is secured. If we do not succeed, then the blog goes off the net.
The plans for the future are relatively simple. Writing is fun, the Saab theme still, the theme selection is refined. To the previous topic mix, which consist of Saab, Trollhättan and the whole sub-topics like Evergrande, Koenigsegg and the Sion, more come to it. This month we are with "Visit at…"Started. The blog visits companies and people who have or have anything to do with Saab. I have an interesting list, also with the help of friends. The beginning made the Post about Saab Gaworski in Hamburg, more will follow monthly.
Because the blog is of course an auto blog, the focus in the future is even more on rolling Swedish cultural heritage. Two very interesting rarities I have meanwhile driven for the readers, the articles are in production. In December or January they go online and from then on monthly.
Fancy Saab and fancy 2020? We certainly have, and if readers think that the world still has room for a Saab blog, they'll be able to support us in the near future.