Founder and director of D2 Racing, Mr Liao Chih Hsien has grown his company considerably to be a leading manufacturer of high performance coilover, brake system, and air suspension kits in Taiwan.
With shock absorbers and brake kits can be found on many winning race cars in Southeast Asia, we find out how Mr Liao took on the competition…
What is your success formula?
Strong branding. We actively participate in motorsports especially in the GT3 category. Initially we specialized in brake kits, but we have been expanding our product range in our drive to be an all-in-one aftermarket source. We also advertise regularly to keep our branding strong, and that matters the most.
We focus on the details of all our products to give consumers a sense of satisfaction. Most importantly, although we are proud of our business, we also focus on being humble and continue to innovate. A big part of our returns go to research and development to come up with new ideas to serve the automotive enthusiasts better.
Is it hard to stay competitive?
When we started, the market was not as saturated, but the demand for parts was high. Other than Japan, D2 was the first in Taiwan to be producing performance parts for cars, and we cater for those who are budget conscious, up to professionals by offering them value for money solutions. Today, we have attracted many OE deals through our constant innovation which is funded from our returns.
The company is like a hen, and you need to leave some eggs to help grow its family. We used to struggle to break into this international market, but by ensuring our product quality and treating our dealer relation seriously, we eventually overcame the difficulty of going international and we have since been growing.
What’s the difference in the tuning culture around the world?
In Europe, people modify their cars for enjoyment and as a lifestyle. Asians are more affluent when it comes to car modifications and also form the most stable part of the market, because most Asian enthusiasts do love their cars. In Japan and America, enthusiasts are more brand conscious, and are more aware of safety issues, hence their preference for a familiar brand, which is why brands which are successful in the two regions is like a badge of consumer approval.
So, how import is motorsports to D2 Racing?
Racing is important as it helps to push for innovation and ensure that everyone can enjoy it. High level motorsports is the most punishing use of a car, like how our GT3 supercars are being used to test our latest products to the limits. We believe that “nothing is the best”, on “something is better”.
It is also very helpful in supporting the brand. When people see our cars crossing the finish line, for example, in endurance racing, they immediately form a positive thought about D2 Racing as components have to outlast the race itself – and that is assuring for the end user that our products work perfectly.
Describe some recent innovations!
With more cars having electric parking brakes, that became one of our brake kits most unique feature. Carbon disc brakes are a new thing to us and we are actively fine tuning the product for maximum performance. We also have been designing and building new suspension types such as digitally controlled air suspension.
Our latest product range are wheels – and we accept custom designs and build them to stringent specifications with our manufacturing expertise. We can do one or multi-piece wheels and in any finish you can dream of. Last but not least, we have increased our suspension upgrades portfolio by introducing new adjustable control arms for a variety of cars, which is a direct result from our racing development.
What can we expect to see in the future?
One such concept we have is the “internet of things” – a suspension system which integrates into the car or the smartphone. It is actually an aircraft innovation which has been trickled down to cars. A GPS which helps to set up the car according to the road conditions. The challenge in this is with the software more than the hardware itself as cars are getting a lot smarter, and more complex as a result. We are not backing down!
Very soon, we are releasing a nose-lift kit for our coilovers, for sporty drivers who prefer coilovers, but want the on-the-fly adjustment of air suspension. Moreover, there will be no need to sacrifice space to carry an air tank!