In addition to working on private customer's vehicles, Boss also works with automotive manufacturers, which shall remain unnamed, to develop parts for them. Other aftermarket parts companies also employ Boss for product development. It speaks to the quality of the innovations and ideas that come from Boss that so many aftermarket manufacturers hire them. Mr. Fujioka is deeply involved with the day-to-day operations of Boss, which ensures the quality of their work. In fact, he does all of the shop's titanium welding himself.
After hearing about the operations of Boss, we steered the conversation to Mr. Fujioka's personal thoughts on all things motorsports. Our favorites tidbits of information we gleaned are that Mr. Fujioka is an F1 Toyota fan who hates Honda. He thinks their chassis and trannys suck (he feels the chassis flex too much) but that their engines are okay. Mr. Fujioka feels that Hondas drive crooked because the suspension is no good. He says that Toyotas have the best suspension and chassis but is quick to point out that he has owned every single model of the Honda Civic that has come out, so it is not for lack of trying. That is, Mr. Fujioka has given adequate comparison opportunities but has found Toyotas to be best.
We also questioned Mr. Fujioka about future trends in the tuner scene. He reports that the Japanese market is moving towards the naturally aspirated (NA) market. Mr. Fujioka feels that superchargers are too heavy and thus they are not often used. He points out, however, that with turbos you have the advantage of setting the powerband where you want it, which you cannot do with superchargers. When asked what types of cars he likes to build, turbo or NA, Mr. Fujioka replied that building turbo cars are his favorite but when it comes to driving he prefers the NA feel. He feels the best cars to tune are the Nissan 350Z and the Subaru Impreza, while his personal favorite cars are the AE86 and the Supra.
Having just taken in the Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS), we asked Mr. Fujioka his impressions of the show this year. He felt there were fewer businesses present as well as fewer new products on display compared to other years. Mr. Fujioka deemed this lack of new products due to the fact that there were no new sporty or performance vehicle models released in Japan this past year. While the Toyota Lexus line was introduced in Japan it is very pricey and thus has no customer base. He thinks that once new models are released it will create new business as companies develop new products for these models. Additionally, Mr. Fujioka felt that fewer companies attended TAS this year because overall business has been slow in the industry this year.
In closing our interview we asked Mr. Fujioka about his plans for the future of Boss. First and foremost, he plans to expand into the U.S. market, initially via a BMW product line. This is good news for U.S. consumers who have yet been able to access their products.
By now our plates have been polished clean and our stomachs are full. The smoke weighs heavy in the air. My long legs have fallen asleep, as they are not used to such contortions. We finish things up and head back to Boss for some more photos.
Stepping out into the brisk Nagano winter air I reflect upon the differences from my part of the world-the weather is so vastly different from the California sun I am used to, the setting is different. At Boss, the tuning styles are different from what I usually see at U.S. shops, the customer service and interactions are different, etc. With so many differences I think about how much we can learn. Within diversity arises the opportunity to be exposed to alternative ways of doing things. There is more than one way to make a car go fast. For this I am excited to see what Boss's future in the U.S. has in store for us.