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Cars are great, but they could always be better. Rather than buy a new vehicle, some drivers may go to a tuning company to customize their car. So, what is an in-house tuning company? It’s really just a tuning company owned by the automaker you bought the car from. Here’s what you need to know when choosing who should customize your vehicle.

Pros and cons

The cons about taking your car to a regular tuning company involve customer support and warranties; both tend to be lacking. Independent tuning companies generally don’t put their resources in these departments. On top of this, like the tuned-up cars on Pimp My Ride, there’s no guarantee that your tuned-up car will actually drive or handle well long-term.

An in-house tuning company will generally provide far better customer support, decent warranties, and the assurance that your tuned-up car is reliable. However, there are some downsides to in-house tuning companies. Generally speaking, automakers create an in-house tuning company specifically so drivers can get a performance boost. There’s no guarantee that an in-house tuning company can tune your vehicle exactly the way you want it. However, if you have a crazy idea for your car, then there’s a good chance an independent company can do that for you. 

Of course, since so many tuning companies exist both independent and in-house, your choice will depend on what kind of modifications you seek for your car.

Sporty in-house trims

A lot of automakers offer trims of their cars. What many don’t know is that sometimes the sporty trims come straight from the automaker’s in-house tuning company. Sometimes, the name of the in-house tuning company is on the name of the vehicle, and sometimes it isn’t. 

For example, Audi’s in-house tuning company is named Quattro, and a lot of Audis are actually built by Quattro. For example, Audi’s famous R8 is actually built this company, despite it not being included in the name. Some Audis do mention Quattro in the names to signify the sportiness. For example, the Audi RS2 Quattro is obviously made by Quattro. 

Toyota does sporty tune-ups on its cars, too. TRD is the in-house tuning company that’s created some great sporty vehicles for Toyota drivers. TRD, which stands for Toyota Racing Development, also sells sporty accessories — everything from superchargers to floor mats. 

Arguably the most famous in-house tuning company belongs to BMW. BMW’s M-Technik makes its M-series of cars. Although M-Technik is known for primarily making sporty sedans like the M3 or the M4, it recently also started making sporty cars of other body types, too.

Limited runs

Many in-house tuning companies make higher-performance cars than their parent companies. But some in-house companies primarily make limited edition cars. For example, Subaru’s in-house tuning company, STI, mostly makes cars sold briefly in Japan. These vehicles, like the WRX STI, are great. Unfortunately, most Americans will never see them in person. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Ferrari’s Scuderia is an in-house tuning company that primarily works for Ferrari racing ventures. So, unless you’re a race car driver or you can afford a Ferrari, getting a Scuderia will be tough.