The TEIN Story


The search for 'the' driver

"The one, who conquers Kanagawa, conquers the country." In the early 1980s, there were 2 youngsters who stood out in the crowd, in the kingdom of rally; Kanagawa. They were Hakaru Ichino and Yoshio Fujimoto. A co-driver and a 4driver, who actually started out as rivals from different teams. They were very aware of each other. Without a word, their runs and speed fiercely attracted one another. "Where can I find that incredibly fast driver named Fujimoto?" As Ichino's rally activity shifted to all Japan events, he was told to find his partner; "the" driver. Without hesitation, he found out through his friend how to reach Fujimoto and called him. "Why don't we compete in all Japan events together?" Of course Fujimoto immediately agreed. There was absolutely no reason for him to turn down such offer from Ichino, for whom he had sense of reverence. "Mr. Ichino always stays cool, and is great at gathering information. I can leave everything to him!" This was where it all began.


Shock absorbers by Ichino and Fujimoto 

"No suspension works for us!" Ichino and Fujimoto faced a big problem competing together in rally races. "There is NO shock absorber that can withstand our aggressive run..." At that time, there were no shock absorbers available for their rally car, and they could only do so much by using parts from other vehicles. They thought about it for a while and finally made the decision; "If there is nothing on the market, let's make our own!" With excitement, Ichino started a new company and named it "TEIN". Fujimoto quit the company he was working for and eagerly joined Ichino. From that point on, they would share the same destiny.

They recall, "We did everything on our own; visited shops that entered rallies, persuaded managers, drew blueprints, purchased materials, machined the parts, and completed assembly." Their factory/office was a small triangular shaped room, which was less than 25m2 (250sqft). Day after day they talked about their dreams and aspirations, "soon we will be competing in lots of rally events around the world!". "There are some guys building some awesome shock absorbers." It wasn't long before news about their products traveled all over Japan.



Confidence built from Worldwide experiences

Exceptional performance and durability. TEIN shock absorbers were then given high marks not only for use in rally events but also in other fields; on the street and at the circuit. They achieved an astonishingly high 80% share of dampers used in N1 Taikyu races (currently known as Super Taikyu). "There is NO doubt in what we have been doing at TEIN. We can go for it!" In 1990, their wait was over and they released original products under the TEIN brand. In no time, they were flooded with orders, exceeding their production capability. Their success as an International rally team shed light on the company.

In 1987, 2 years after their first season competing in all Japan events, they made their first challenge in overseas races; Hong Kong-Beijing Rally. 2 years later in 1989, they finally made their way to WRC. Things went well and smoothly for Fujimoto. He became the first Japanese ever to be chosen as a driver for a Toyota works team. In 1995, he was crowned with an overall victory in the Safari Rally; and again he was the first Japanese to have this distinction. Their names; 'Ichino' and 'Fujimoto', became well known throughout the world. "Rally is where we started. We would always like to be in-touch with the real market. Putting ourselves at the forefront of the scene allows us to listen to the consumers' real voice." By experiencing TEIN products firsthand, their conviction as company executives were developed and refined. Their company, TEIN, continues to compete in motorsports.


For TEIN, there is no such thing as a goal

1995 marked the turning point for TEIN. Deregulation created a favorable environment in which cars on the street were allowed to have suspension replacements or modifications. Demands for TEIN products suddenly increased. TEIN became the leader of this new 'customize' culture, where people wanted originality in their cars. TEIN, started with only 2 people, has kept growing and is now listed on the stock market, with total sales in the billions of Yen. Their vision is to provide high quality suspension products to the world.

 "We are confident in the era of globalization that we can overcome any international boundaries as a 'made-in-Japan' brand." Even upon expanding their views into the world, they stand firm in their own convictions even from the beginning, as a suspension specialty manufacturer. "Now the company is stable in various aspects, but we cannot afford to be inattentive. Because, we are yet to master the 'perfect' suspension..." Ichino and Fujimoto talk in chorus. Their presence, looking straight ahead into the future, is just as that of rallyists driving and foreseeing the various changes of the course. "In a simple phrase, TEIN's ideal shock absorber is something that excites and thrills customers. Customers' demands are not that easy to meet at any age. So, there can be NO goal for TEIN." A rally car, carrying enormous dreams entitled, TEIN, continues on its winning ways, driven by Ichino and Fujimoto.


Ichino and Fujimoto

Both 'Hakaru Ichino' and 'Yoshio Fujimoto' are well known domestically as well as globally. But there is a real contrast between the two; keen insights and burning passion. Although they both have glorious careers, they are both still actively involved in rally. They are a remarkable combination and perfect match as TEIN executives.


Hakaru Ichino

"He is a man of very firm beliefs that never waivers."

"People call me a drill sergeant, as I speak frankly even in delicate matters."

He evaluated himself with a wry grin. Fujimoto's image, even outside Japan, is "straight forward". Fujimoto is honest and determined to win. "A good driver is someone who controls the vehicle to the limit, and is in tune with the capacity of the engine. Running the company is somewhat similar; it's important to obtain the maximum result by fully utilizing all resources." He still is making the most out of all the experiences he obtained as a driver for a Toyota works team in WRC.

Beef bowls, Chinese noodles, and hamburgers. His food preference is somewhat unprofessional, but he transforms himself uncompromisingly before rally events. How he changes gears, both professionally and privately, is at the tip-top of his profession as a company executive


Yoshio Fujimoto

Put simply, his ability to collect information and make level-headed decisions at all times."

"To win the game, you have to control your partner; the driver." Ichino knows all too well about the joy of being a co-driver in rally races. "The driver is usually the one who gets all the attention; however, he cannot even finish the race if his co-driver fails to give impeccable information in an instant." 


He realized early how important pace note are, and became the leading expert in the field."The way in which he senses the market, and predicts future hit products, is what's required for the company." He, as a corporate executive, is always making accurate calculations which lead to the optimum choice.

When TEIN was established, Fujimoto trusted Ichino enough to quit his job and join TEIN. Ichino does not only control but he attracts others.

He has what it takes to be a genuine leader.


The Legend of TEIN

The first Japanese to win Safari Rally Championship


On the scorching African continent in the most severe conditions, it was Yoshio Fujimoto (Toyota Celica GT-FOUR) who won the Safari Rally in 1995. He was the first Japanese ever to make such an accomplishment, and he did it in the most grueling rally in the world.

In the prior year, he signed a contract with TTE (Toyota Team Europe) as their first Japanese driver. The Safari Rally was his second challenge. The name "Yoshio Fujimoto" left a great mark in the world history of motorsports. There aren't many companies in the world who are run by world champions.

Before TEIN made their official entry into U.S. market, Fujimoto spent 2 years performing local market research, and visited over 500 shops across the United States. Among them, there were only 2 shops that did not know TEIN. Despite the fact that Japanese manufacturers don't usually visit shops in U.S., and that all the visits were made without prior appointments, Fujimoto received a warm welcome. In fact one shop posted the message "Suddenly TEIN Came!" on their website, which showed the popularity of how well known TEIN brand was


The true meaning of technical innovation

The company name TEIN comes from 2 initials of the words; 'TE'CHNICAL 'IN'NOVATION.

It represents the company policy to produce the best products with the latest technology. With a change in times, from 'evolution' to further 'revolution', TEIN products are reaching for the extremity. It's been over 20 years since its establishment, but TEIN's strong convictions have never changed.


Tein's return to the origin

In 2006, TEIN started to produce made-to-order products; "Specialized Damper". Hand-made dampers exclusively tailored to individual customer preferences. Including vehicles for which mass-produced products are not available, and may never become available. TEIN specialists put all their technology and experience into each set of dampers.

For customers, TEIN returns to its origin, which started from built-to-order suspension products. TEIN's wish and promise is to provide the joy of driving to everyone in the cars in which they love.


Who is this Dampachi

'DAMPACHI' is the name of this mascot with big eyes, a green body, and large tank on his back, He appears in TEIN ads and materials all over the world. He is popular among kids, men, women, and collectors alike. DAMPACHI has become one of the recognized and loved characters in all of motorsports. DAMPACHI was born from the minds of TEIN employees, hoping that he will create brand recognition for TEIN suspension products and auto tuning/customizing industry as a whole.


Exceptionally High Quality is TEIN's Way

3 Samurais, the final barrier for quality control

Evaluation of Test Rides: One of the most important factors for the functionality of street-use shock absorber is ride comfort. How people interpret ride comfort differs from one person to another, and there is not a single correct answer. At TEIN, ride comfort is considered to be a significant factor of product quality, and test rides are performed repeatedly to ensure optimum quality. Every TEIN product is evaluated by 3 TEIN staff that have passed very stringent internal qualifying exams. One person from each area of R & D, product planning and quality control must perform test drive evaluations. If one person rejects any one point of a product, that product will never hit the store shelves. This prototype product is then sent back to the start, modified, and the entire process starts all over again. Under thorough quality control, TEIN delivers a complete 'product' not just a single 'part', providing something extra to a customers' driving experience.


Mainenance of testing equipment

"Is that 10.0mm you just measured really 10.0mm?" How do you answer such a question? TEIN uses all different kinds of measurement instruments during the production process including but not limited to precision calipers, micrometer caliper, load testers, damping force testers, etc. If such devices are inaccurate, it's impossible to maintain the quality of the products. To accurately test the products, all measuring equipment must be precise. At TEIN, every single measurement device is registered, maintained, and regularly calibrated. Calibrations are made using government-designated standard devices. 10.0mm measured by such standard device is really the exact 10.0mm. A measuring device is not accurate unless it can exactly match the standard one. TEIN's level of caution means that even brand new equipment must be properly tested before it can be registered and used.


Where High Tech and Passion Meet


Fusion of the craftsman's spirit and machine's efficiency

Gun drilling machine, originally developed to drill the barrel hole of a gun just as the name indicates, is used at TEIN to drill a hole in the piston rod. A highly accurate and precise hole is essential to enabling fine adjustments of damping force.

Change after change was made to improve the manufacturing and processing machinery, adopting cutting-edge technology as well as unique and original ideas. TEIN has made numerous efforts to provide superior performance products at affordable prices, which retain the highest craftsmanship. TEIN has an unyielding commitment and uncompromising attitude when it comes to quality. TEIN's computerized production line is under uniform management. Completed shock absorbers meeting rigid requirements in every aspect, is truly the fruit of the TEIN philosophy.



Hight quality, strength, and effeciency

Even the slightest error can not be tolerated, from start to finish in producing high quality products. TEIN utilizes the most-advanced machinery, including custom-designed "both-end processing machine" to process materials efficiently and precisely. Spot welding machines enable instant yet secure welding, and welding robots have been developed and programmed in-house for optimum results. Consistent processing by machine, combined with well trained operator inspections produce products high in both quality and intensity.


TEIN's ultimate powder coating method: '2 layer/1-brake'

A powder coat paint is not only used for superior appearance but also for rust protection and high durability. First a base coat is sprayed on, then a green powder paint is applied as a top layer, and finally the product is baked in a furnace. Usually, one baking process is required per one layer of powder paint, thus 2-layers requires 2-baking processes. TEIN, however, succeeded in developing a patent-pending "2-layer/1-bake" method, in pursuit of high-efficiency. story_powdercoating


Desire to professional craftsmanship and exceptional machinery

The piston valve, which is the heart of shock absorber and controls damping force, is assembled using a special machine designed exclusively by TEIN. The final assembly of mono-tube shock absorbers is performed by custom-designed and custom-made machinery, while final assembly of twin-tube shock absorbers is performed by highly-skilled TEIN staff. Both are assembled carefully, undergo close inspection, and then are delivered to customers. story_craftsmanship


Made in Yokohama. TEIN quality, only made possible by in-house integrated manufaturing

TEIN's policy is to provide high quality products upon customers demand. Based on this policy, TEIN is producing various high quality part numbers in small quantities. TEIN's production line is under uniform management, meaning that a single system enters the data into every machine. No factory workers can change machining data on the spot. If changes need to be made to parts, they are made on the system. This also means changes to those parts and related parts can be carried out at the touch of a button. We control most everything on our own, therefore we are able to take prompt action in case of problems, and this allows us to provide high-quality products consistently. We do rely on machinery in some part, but the final assembly in many ways depends on craftsmanship. That is the moment we give 'life' to each and every product.


Continual Developement of Products: That's TEIN's Standard


Extraordinary 10 millions strokes

All 4 shock absorbers move constantly during driving. To test the product life, our shock absorbers are stroked repeatedly, over 10 million times each. That is equivalent to the load of about 5 years of use. Durability testing is being done around the clock and the shock absorber stays on the testing equipment for about 60 days.

Speed of the piston on the tester is 0.6m/s, simulating the most violent movement of shock absorber on street. The temperature inside the shock absorber reaches 80 to 100°C, which is hotter than the conditions the shocks would experience on a Super Taikyu race car in mid-summer. Testing imposed on TEIN products is unbelievably tough and precise. Durability is not the only thing tested, but all parts are disassembled and inspected for abnormality. These tests are performed on all TEIN products, not just race-use products.

TEIN strives to improve performance and durability of products, fully utilizing the most-advanced testing equipment. Severe tests are done daily for superior quality. TEIN does whatever it takes to provide all customers with safety and peace of mind.


All kind of road conditions re-enacted

Hydraulic Damper Tester precisely re-creates various road conditions and obtains data. This could be a lap around the Nurburgring circuit, or it could be a trip around the TEIN office on public roads. With this tester, movements of the shock absorber are truly reproduced, allowing TEIN to measure inner pressure and/or other details instantly. This reduces the need for testing with real vehicles, thus drastically cutting down the time required for testing. Time required for product evaluation is much shorter than before, as engineers can more quickly test initial damping force settings for each vehicle application. story_reinactedroad


Rustless: Proof of TEIN technology

Sooner or later, iron rusts. But with outstanding surface treatment, occurrence of rust can be minimized. TEIN uses a "Salt Spray Tester," to test the corrosion resistance of various surface treatment methods. Salt water is sprayed in testing chamber for 96 hours continuously, which is equivalent to about 1 year of regular use. Competitors' products are also tested for comparison. This testing led to the development of our exclusive painting technology that can withstand conditions from heavy snowfall areas

Surface treatment used on TEIN products:


Surface treatment widely used on competitors' products:


Bring out the full potential of every single part

TEIN has introduced the latest CAD / CAE systems, which let computers assist design and analysis. Strength analysis of each and every part can be simulated on computers. This combined with real strength testing brings out the full potential of even the tiniest parts. Also, custom-developed programs ensure better product designs and analysis, to reduce development time and costs.


Our Origin is Here at The Competition Field


The latest technology is always at the frontline of motorsports

TEIN was born in rally. TEIN's technological advancements go hand in hand with motorsports activities. Motorsports is crucial for TEIN to elevate its engineering and to refine its ideal suspension. TEIN embodies the famous 'Laboratory on Wheels'. Utmost technology comes from the competition fields where winning requires competing for every tenth of a second. All the valuable data obtained from competitions are refined and poured into all TEIN products built for the street.


To provide the ultimate products

Specifications, performance, and durability required for motorsports might be a bit excessive in a way. But, for those who are not satisfied with existing suspensions and are seeking the real quality products, no compromise can be made for any type of product whether it be circuit, gravel, or street use products.

The purpose of TEIN's support to various motorsports is NOT to generate name recognition. TEIN would rather spend money on R & D than publicity. TEIN is not sponsoring and supporting just any motorsports events, but it is limited to certain categories that are valuable for improvement of product quality and performance. Everything TEIN does is to deliver the ultimate products to all customers.


TEIN's 'Competition Technology' is utilised for all consumers: Fight to fill a void

TEIN returned to the WRC scene in 2005, after a 7 year absence. TEIN choose to support vehicles in the P-WRC (Production Car World Rally Championship) class for a reason. Engine modification is not allowed in this class, thus the performance of shock absorber has a direct effect on race results. In other words, the performance of suspension can be exhibited to the fullest extent.

But, a 7 year absence meant more than expected. The performance and durability that drivers and teams currently require are far greater than expectations for products 7 years ago. Ichino and Fujimoto were not weary of this reality and stated, "we are going to complete shock absorbers that can win the world title!"


Amazing upsets

The brand-new "Type Gr.N Damper" was finally completed and is equipped with the new feature; 'M.S.V.' (Micro Speed Valve). This innovative system enables fine control of damping force with the newly added valve. In its debut at P-WRC races, the Gr.N Damper placed 8th. Fujimoto and engineers were not satisfied at all. There still was a gap between TEIN and the rest of the world. That was only a place to start for them. From that point on, engineers put all their efforts, without resting, to develop and improve the Gr.N Damper in astonishing time.

About six months later, the evolved Gr.N Damper enjoyed a moment of glory in WRC Finland Rally. An Impreza, sponsored by TEIN and driven by Aki Teiskonen, closed in quickly and clinched the class victory. On his [Teiskonen] at-home win, he told TEIN engineers with a big smile on his face. TEIN shock absorber was really great!"


What it means to keep fighting

Nothing could stop the success of TEIN shock absorbers equipped with 'M.S.V.' technology. Vehicles with this new system have won the Super Taikyu series for 2 consecutive years. Its capability is not limited to battles being waged on the circuit but instead its advantages can be felt on the streets as well. TEIN decided to include 'M.S.V.' into mass-producution dampers for street use starting with the 'MONO FLEX' and 'COMFORT SPORT' in 2006. For street use, it is useful when changing lanes on highways. Softer damping force settings tend to worsen steering response thus losing the ability to make quick turns. With 'M.S.V.', damping force is more precisely controlled, thus enabling both comfortable ride and acute steering response. All the cultivated technology is fed back into TEIN products. For that purpose, TEIN remains on the 'competition field'.

TEIN Products are derived from Motorsports and continually evolving Global Standard, Initiated and Enhanced by TEIN, Going Beyond the Limit.



Ever-intensifying TEIN

TEIN keeps challenging to competitions held all over the world. There are races that compete for one thousandth of a second, have big jumps at 170km/h and/or run on extremely cold icy road or on scorching hot desert. Technology and know-how cultivated in worldwide competitions under such severe conditions is poured into each and every TEIN shock absorber. Superior performance and superior quality for your shock absorbers. TEIN keeps evolving, forever and ever.

Swedish Rally // Rally Mexico // Rally Argentina // Acropolis Rally of Greece // Rally New Zealand // Rally Japan // Rally Ireland // Rally GB *2007Round


The Top Level Support System, Stunned the Whole World

After TEIN's return to the WRC scene in 2005, TEIN felt that they were scoring a solid hit as its products were enjoying a burst of popularity, however they also felt they had reached their limits on one point. That was the on-site support system. They attended races all over the world throughout the year, thus it became difficult for them to provide prompt service from their base factory in Yokohama.

TEIN made the decision to introduce the concept of factory on wheels; 'rally service container'. 3 workshop containers are now deployed around the world to provide on-site support, which is in no way inferior to that of the Yokohama-factory. The containers have been used in many locations around the world such as China, U.S., Europe, Africa, etc.

Even long-established European suppliers are surprised by TEIN's worldwide and top-level support system, which is drawing the attention of motosports teams from around the world.

After TEIN's return to the WRC scene in 2005, TEIN felt that they were scoring a solid hit as its products were enjoying a burst of popularity, however they also felt they had reached their limits on one point. That was the on-site support system. They attended races all over the world throughout the year, thus it became difficult for them to provide prompt service from their base factory in Yokohama.

TEIN made the decision to introduce the concept of factory on wheels; 'rally service container'. 3 workshop containers are now deployed around the world to provide on-site support, which is in no way inferior to that of the Yokohama-factory. The containers have been used in many locations around the world such as China, U.S., Europe, Africa, etc.

Even long-established European suppliers are surprised by TEIN's worldwide and top-level support system, which is drawing the attention of motosports teams from around the world.





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