Starting a performance shop is hard enough, but starting a performance shop that specializes in Subaru is near impossible considering they have just begun to explore the potential of these cars. Harman Motive went against all odds, and now is a big name in the Subaru/STI tuning community.
Owner Dan Harman enjoyed working on cars his whole life, but didn’t start turning a wrench with intent to create something until 2002. In his garage, Dan worked on his car as well as his friends’. Word of mouth spread about his ability to tune cars and after he graduated from college, he opened his first actual shop. Located in Torrance, he was able to expand his clientele as well as his knowledge of the Subaru. In 2004, the STI was introduced to America and Dan immediately began trying to figure out this new automobile. The computer that they put in the STI was extremely complicated and Dan was one of the first of 5 to understand the programming on it. They started with small installs and then moved on to installing and selling aftermarket parts. Harman Motive started with Dan and a Japanese mechanic but then started growing.
In 2005, the year after the first STI came to the US, the price of the WRX (the STI’s younger, detuned brother) began to drop. This meant more people could afford the car and they could spend more money tuning the WRX. That year was by far Harman Motive’s defining year, with the biggest turnaround of cars they ever had. Thereafter, great things began spreading all over the country about Harman through the Subaru community.
Dan and Harman continued to push the envelope and expanding and in mid 2007 they moved to a newer, much bigger location. They now have the ability to help more customers tune/install aftermarket parts on the cars. From the beginning, Harman Motive was a word of mouth spread business. They only put out there first and only ad in a strictly Subaru magazine this year. When I first walked into Harman Motive, I immediately notice the super cool atmosphere, not to mention this was one of, if not the cleanest and best kept shops I’ve ever seen. When I met Dan he was behind the wheel of a STI on their new Mustang Diagnostic System. He was extremely excited to tell me about his ventures and his company. The cleanliness of the shop can only be matched by Dan’s, as well as the other employees, over all terrific customer service. I also spoke with Ian, who is the Assistant Manager, and he said “What separates good shops from the others is the ability to trouble shoot, knowing exactly what need to be done and how to do it, and just over all knowledge and service.” With that said, I definitely would say that Harman Motive is one of the great shops in the US.
This year, Harman released their product line, focusing on quality. As of now, they only manufacture exhaust systems for the 2008 STI and the 2008 BMW 335i. With bigger, better goals in mind, they plan on expand their product line and expand into different markets. The tuning community as a whole will be waiting to see what happens and how Harman Motive will grow. (Mike)