The rise of Titan shock absorbers

By RIZAL JOHAN | 26 August 2015

Starting a local custom suspension business for cars from scratch has proven fruitful as it has grown from strength-to-strength over the years.

Some 15 years ago, Richard How started MPD Auto Centre, a business producing servicable shock absorber and suspension components and the Titan brand name was born.

Originally operating out of a workshop in Pandan Mewah, Ampang, MPD Auto Centre literally made the big move to a new and bigger premise at Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

Titan Suspension - 02
Located in the Sunsuria Technology Centre industrial area, the new semi-detached factory takes up 17,000sq ft and offers a larger space for the workshop and convenience for the customers.

“The original shop in Ampang was too small. I was always looking to expand my business anyway but I knew it would take time. And my customers also used to complain about the lack of parking space and some were even concerned about leaving their cars overnight because they felt the area was not safe enough.

“The new location is much better for everyone. A lot of my customers are from Petaling Jaya anyway and I’m a resident of Petaling Jaya too so its convenient and since the move, the business has been growing,” said How.

MPD Auto Centre is a family run business with How solely concentrating on product research and development while his wife and 26-year-old son, Marc How, manage the other aspects of the business.

Titan Suspension - 04
“I used to work alone but I can’t get my head around sales, marketing and accounting. I’m a technical person and now that my family helps run the business, I can just concentrate on improving the product. I’m always doing research and development on the suspension system and improving the equipment and machines in the workshop,” said How, 56.

Besides the new location, the business aspect of the customisable Titan suspension systems has also changed. Richard started out by catering to performance enthusiasts with his brand of mono-tube shock absorbers but now MPD Auto have branched out to satisfy the needs of regular and luxury car owners.

“For daily users, the most important thing is comfort and stability.

“Comfort for the smooth driving experience and stability during high speed.

Titan Suspension - 05

“The suspension system has to strike a balance between the two which makes it pleasant for everyday use for the driver and passengers.

“With the Titan suspension system, we will customise to your driving habits and car.

“Our systems are also servicable as well and comes with a warranty too,” said How.

Marc, who began helping his father since he was 16-years-old, now helps to run the day-to-day operations among other things.

“You need a team to build a business. Which is why we have specific roles in conducting our business.

“My dad is not very good at the business so I’ve taken some of those responsibilities so he can concentrate on the technical side of things.

“Now that we have moved to the new location, my job is to build-up the business even more.

“I look after the customers’ needs and also find new customers to bring up the sales. Marketing is the other thing I’m doing as well. I still test out the suspension on the cars and help my dad with tuning the systems,” he said.

Like his father, Marc is self taught with no technical and business background.

“I used to help my dad during the weekends when I was sixteen and later, worked full-time with his business.

Titan Suspension - 06
How (left) and Marc installing a Titan shock absorber on a car.

“My dad wanted me to continue my studies but he was going through a tough time back then, and I could see he was always happy when I was around the workshop so I decided to go to work for him,” said Marc.

Richard related that he had only primary school education up to Standard Five.

“I was never really any good with studies. I was much better at drawing.

“I worked different jobs before I started this business.

“I was an auto mechanic and I worked at a furniture shop for a while but I stopped because I liked cars better,” said How.

For someone who has run his own business for so many years now, How points out that the most important thing is not about making money but having determination and improving your product.

“You have to work hard and don’t give up.

“I went through a lot of trying times with my business so it’s also important to have a cool head too.

“It’s not just about making money. It’s about making a good product for people to enjoy.

“Success takes time. I knew that from the beginning. It takes time and effort for a business to grow. I knew I needed a bigger space for my business back then but things like this takes time but if you work hard and don’t give up, your happy day will come,” said How.