LUXOR RADIO : What happened?

Valentine Xavier writes ...

Founded in 1923 in Motala, Sweden by Axel Holstensson as Luxor Radio to manufacture crystal radio sets but quickly grew in to one of the larger Swedish radio manufacturers. Expanded into other areas of brown goods manufacture in the 1950's and became one of the first European mass manufacturers of television sets.

Despite being small on an international scale and with marketing and distribution almost entirely limited to the north-western part of Europe, Luxor was actually a full line manufacturer, by 1976 the company not only sold a wide range of TV and hi-fi products including separates and high tech products like video recorders but also TV games and cheaper products like portable radios and suchlike, it had at the time a workforce of over 2600 and a turnover of more than 700 million SEK pr. annum.

However disaster struck later that year when the company's TV manufacturing plant burnt to the ground, since TV production was by this time a mainstay of the company this was a blow from which it never really recovered as the increased competition in the market in the following years did not give it the necessary elbow room.

In 1978 the company formed a new division called Luxor Datorer (Datorer = Computers) and introduced the ABC80, a Z80 based personal computer that became very popular in northern Europe and the first satellite TV set-top box. The ABC80 is intriguing since the only computer experience the company had prior to this was a very limited production run of terminals for SAAB (or DataSAAB rather) but nevertheless they made quite a success out of its manufacture by utilising their CE manufacturing know how and existing production facilities, for instance the monitor that came with the ABC80 was a modified portable TV and so on, this enabled the company to offer their computer products considerably cheaper than comparable imported items despite having a much smaller market and superior specifications, another factor was that the company also sold the computer through their existing dealer network but in most other countries computers where sold almost exclusively in computer and electronic stores rather than in electrical retailers.

The company however hit cash flow problems in 1979 and was nationalised later that year. Luxor was reasonably successful under government control but mounting pressures from their competitors forced the Swedish government to get rid of the company and it was sold to Nokia in 1984 who merged the browngoods part of the operation with Salora which still uses the Luxor brand to sell their products in Sweden, the Luxor Datorer operation was closed down in 1986 but the set-top box manufacturing part of the operation survived.

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