He turned a burning passion with cars since childhood into a multi-million business through Import Hookup
We’ve all dreamed of the perfect car. One that will not only drive us around town in comfort, but also one that will truly represent us and reflect on our personality. Filipinos have a penchant for personalizing their cars. Whether it’s just a rosary hanging from the rear view mirror, or the latest oversized flashy wheels, maybe louder exhausts and wild body kits and colors. But for some car owners, modifying has become not just a hobby but a real world job borne out of passion.
Meet Keith Bryan Haw, a 36-year old businessman who has made a name for himself as a connoisseur of exotic car modifications. Through his company, Import Hookup, Keith has taken the car tuning scene to extreme levels.
“I’ve always loved cars since I was a kid,” recalls Keith. “Back then, I used to play with small matchboxes, hung posters of cars on top of my bed and even drew car emblems. I always asked my parents to put me in the driver’s seat of cars. I was just mesmerized by them.”
Sensing a burning passion with cars at a very young age, Keith had to work hard in order to have the money to continue modifying them. Starting off from the Japanese Domestic Model or JDM car mod scene, Keith eventually got to meet new people who further stirred up his passion for other, more premium, makes and models.
“When I started the business, I was 17-years old. I was young and I conversed with people my age. As years went by, I grew up and my clients grew up with me. I met more friends who were more successful in life, those who could afford supercars. That was when my penchant for modifications progressed as well.”
And after browsing through issues of Import Tuner, a popular American magazine that featured modified and tuned Japanese cars, Keith had an epiphany. “Since I import car parts and then I hook people up with anything they want for their cars, I decided to combine both words to come up with Import Hookup.”
Import Hookup began with buying parts from sub-dealers. “I was young, I didn’t have the credibility or the funds to do it all yet,” reminisces Keith. “But through the years, I got to meet people and manufacturers directly from the SEMA show and other big companies.”
Today, Import Hookup has several top wheel, as well as tuning and performance brands, under its care. Together with some of the best car shops in Metro Manila and in the provinces, his network has grown to accommodate the aftermarket parts supply for some of the most premier and exotic sports car brands from clients not only in Metro Manila, but also in Cebu, Davao, iloilo and other provinces. “I am thankful for having partner shops here like Alex Restoration and Titan Works Automotive Service Center, as well as partner aftermarket brands from the States, Europe and Japan who trust me with their products. Without them I cannot make cars like these.” And by these, he does mean Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi, Rolls Royce and other top-tier marques.
With the Internet simplifying the way parts are ordered around the globe, Keith has established a network and a name for himself as a purveyor of tasteful exotic car parts and modifications. “A lot of people can buy Ferraris, Lamborghinis or Rolls Royces but not a lot of people can modify them tastefully,” says Keith. “I think I have taste and my customers have taste. But sometimes, they don’t know it until it’s presented in front of them. They have me to present the choices. I will never present something that’s not tasteful.” He adds, “I let the customers choose. But if it’s unsightly, I tell my customers right away.”
And it is through this honesty over the years that Keith has managed to build a high level of trust among his clients, suppliers and shop partners. “At the end of the day, if you do your job properly, people will come back to you and people will refer you. I think that’s why my business grew, it’s because people trust me more and people refer me to other people.”
Along with an undeniable humility and an incessantly jovial vibe, Keith remains a grounded person who basically never let go of his passion for cars. “I always say I’m grateful and thankful for all the people who trust me and believe in my ability to modify exotics,” shares Keith. “The builds I work with are with 10-million pesos and above cars and the owners spend millions with me. It takes a lot of credibility and respect between the customer and myself as a customizer to be able to make these builds possible.”
And for someone who deals with such extremes, Keith continues to focus on his work and cultivate the faith his customers have on him instead of dealing with haters and naysayers. True enough, supercar owners can get picky with whom to entrust the build of their cars, much less let them be test driven by their builders. Fortunately for Keith, he has the street cred to be both. “Do it right the first time, and if you didn’t do it right, you have me to do it for you.” This is his guiding principle with every build. And each build speaks volumes about his character. Just check them out in his Import Hookup Facebook, kbh_kbh Instagram, and KBH YouTube accounts where you will see snapshots of his latest builds and customizations.
A solid work ethic, a relationship with clients built on trust, and an acute sense of taste. These are the pillars on which Import Hookup is founded on. From a child who used to play with toy cars, Keith has grown up into a man who goes to work everyday to build real exotic cars as a business.
“You can see eye candy everyday and that’s why I love my job.” Well, some things never change.
Motoring and motorsports are two of Mikko’s greatest passions. Combining more than twenty years of professional automotive photography and videography experience with years of touring car racing competition, and a deep understanding of the car industry, from both the manufacturers’ and consumers’ points of view, have given him a unique and insightful perspective in the motoring beat.