Import tuners are auto mechanics who specialize in providing regular maintenance, or “tuning” cars that come from other countries. Modifying and customizing cars, especially sports cars, has become a popular hobby. It has given rise to a completely new concept of tuning a car. The tuning of a car could be a cosmetic change or it could refer to changes made internally to optimize performance. Cosmetic changes like spoilers, ground effects, neon lights, differently designed exhausts, loud sound systems, large wheels with low-profile tires, and similar changes are common. These changes may satisfy the desire of the owners, but they are actually detrimental to the performance of the car.
Making internal changes to a car is also popular and many expert tuners can be contacted for this purpose. It has now become the norm for manufacturers, especially the Japanese, to export not-so-powerful models to the US Tuners and then to take control and restore the car to its original engine capacity. Modifications, such as engine and transmission swapping, are done by expert tuners. Examples include converting a Honda Civic to a Civic Type-R or Si or converting a Toyota Celica GT or GT-S to a Celica GT-Four.
Tuning has become such a popular trend that manufacturers are modifying their products appropriately. A segment known as pre-tuned sports compacts has emerged. Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan are key players in this segment. The manufacturers themselves also provide accessories for this purpose. Not to be outdone, the US domestic market has also opened up to this style of production.