Diko Sulahian Always advancing the industry
It’s no accident that when you log on to the website of Diko Sulahian’s Wholesale Tire and Wheel Corp., you hear a song by Grammy-award winning singer Bruno Mars. Mars is known for his flashy yet tasteful style, and his “joyous, idiosyncratic, and utterly contemporary” music.
It’s no accident because those same words can be used to describe the wheels that Diko conceives, designs, promotes, sells and uses on his own cars.
For the man who fell in love with cars in his native Lebanon, where his father was in the tire business, he knew what he wanted to do early in life, said no to college and at 18 started a small business by borrowing $500 from his dad.
And, for the man who as a teenager longed for a Trans Am (but couldn’t convince Dad to buy him one) but is now more known for his passion for fine European automobiles, there are always tough choices as to what to drive.
One option would be to borrow his daughter Giovanna’s white 2014 Mercedes G550 SUV. It was a gift from her dad for her 16th birthday earlier this year. She always dreamed of owning one so of course her car-enthusiast dad figured he would take the opportunity and buy her one before she changes her mind and asks for a Ferrari. And the gift came in style, with Santa rolling up on Christmas Eve to deliver the dream car. Giovanna was so smitten with her gift that she slept in it in the garage on Christmas Eve. She has since received her license and has driven safely since then.
No matter what the choice of car, Diko, his son Koko and two daughters Giovanna and Gianelle travel in style. The children are present in their father’s every work moment as each have a wheel line named for them. As far as Diko is concerned, it’s family first. Diko’s first daughter was born around the same time as WTW so he figured, what better way to tell the world what his company is all about than to name the wheel designs after his children—the ones that he is doing it all for.
Engaged at every point in the process, Diko doesn’t do WTW halfway. He is there for the sketch, the engineering, the sample testing, and gobbles up the details along the way. “Perfectionism is an illness with me,” he once told Highline Autos.
He has said that his brand is luxury, “which requires taste.” His products, as a result of a focus on luxury, are better quality and “much more innovative than our competitors’,” he has said. For Diko, loyalty is a quality that is required and cherished. He proudly and boldly declares on his website: “Buying wheels from unauthorized dealers voids warranty” – a statement that speaks volumes to customers and to authorized dealers.
Diko’s WTW has rolled well with the jittery economy, seeing growth each year and keeping the loyalty of its customers, who keep coming back to see what’s next and to choose from a wheel portfolio which includes Giovanna, Gianelle, KoKo Kuture and GFG.
His Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based company will be showing its shiny wares at the annual SEMA show, Nov. 5–8, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It is there where he will roll out the Ferrari F12berlinetta, Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster, and Rolls-Royce Wraith.
And when Diko does SEMA he does it big. WTW will boast the biggest booth at the show. There’s the show, of course, and then there’s the inevitable party after the show. That’s where Highline Autos and Giovanna have again this year partnered on a SEMA after party at Hyde Bellagio nightclub.
But first, the show.
“We are doing it big as usual this year, but just bigger and better,” Diko said. “We continue to push the envelope and create new ways of continuing the hype and excitement in my brands. We have some of the best vehicles we will showcase, with new designs, and a whole new display theme this year with all our partners, but we will never forget that without our loyal dealers and customers, we would be nothing.”
Diko said WTW is introducing many exciting designs this year, including some that could be considered a little risky to a love-it-or-hate-it audience.
“We are taking some chances, so it’s really fun to see what happens,” Diko said. “We have taken the time to create many details in our designs to better appreciate every little angle and workmanship with the details to prove it, kind of like a facets on a diamond–you have to really look and realize the details to why it sparkles so nice.”
What gives him the biggest sense of accomplishment as a business owner is when he sees a car rolling down the street with one of his wheels, Diko said, “whether it’s a Pinto worth 50 bucks or a badass Ferrari worth 500K, I roll up next to them, and give them a thumbs up, and the driver has a huge smile on his face. That to me is heaven.”
WTW Corporation, www.wtwcorp.com for information on all wheels, a vehicle gallery with wheels, wheel customizers, official blog, media and dealer locator, or call 800.307.8708.