Hands and Shield

Placentia Auto Repair

Tue - Fri: 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
 | closed for lunch 12 - 1

Akio Tsuchida

Co-Founder, President: Akio (Aki for short) Tsuchida is the epitome of the American dream. He’s been working on Toyotas since high school where he attended Jidosha Seibikunrensha, in his native Ishikawa, Japan. Literally translated means school for the automotive trade. Upon graduating he went to work for Ishikawa Toyopet where he met his boss and mentor, Osamu Fujimura, who sold him on the American Dream. After seven years working for him, he saved enough to buy his plane ticket to America. In an era when the Yen’s value, 360 Yen was a dollar, young Aki soon found that his hard earned Yen was only worth $500. The $500 didn’t last long as he was soon hustled out of it from a smooth talking stranger. Tired, hungry, and broke Aki went to work for an independent garage in Gardena, which ended up being a slave driver boss. The years at Japan Auto wouldn’t be in vein though, this is where he met his future partner Mas Masuda. Enduring two years of hard labor, friends came to his aide and connected him people at Toyota Corporate, who promptly gave him a job at Carson Toyota. While working at Carson Aki and Mas would work nights and weekends on friend’s cars in Aki’s back yard, finally scrounging up enough to open Tokyo Automotive in 1978; the Buena Park Location that still stands today.

Tatsu Tsuchida

VP of operations: Tatsunori (Tatsu for short) Tsuchida, son of Aki. Some say that Tatsu was doomed from the start, to love cars and to be in the car industry. But a lot of things had to happen in order for him to become a true heir to the legacy that Aki leaves in his wake. Tatsu spent his teenage years always questioning his love of cars and at some points even hated it. But on his 19th birthday Aki buys his son a 1994 Honda Accord Coupe. It was 1996, and the Sport Compact Car craze was in full swing. Soon Tatsu found himself putting many “enhancements” onto his beloved car, fully engulfing himself into the tuner car culture that was prevalent in the late nineties. In 1998, he meets Victor Bernabe, a former high school classmate, future best friend, and future employee at Tokyo Auto. Vic, with the help of many others helped Tatsu get his love of cars to a fever pitch. The two were often found after hours at Tokyo Auto “Souping Up” their rides. A few more years and a chance meeting at a coffee house would occur. That chance meeting was with an automotive journalist named Jared Holestein. Jared would often employ Tatsu on magazine jobs because of his knowledge of cars and Japanese. From Jared, Tatsu would learn that the love of cars is beyond wrenching, and Tatsu’s love of his father’s garage grew beyond being a wrench. One could say that Vic and Jared both inspired something within Tatsu.

Kevin Crafton

Kevin originates from Eugene, Oregon. Golf school brought him to Southern California, initially to San Diego. His degree is a bachelors in business with an emphasis in Golf Resort management. Disheartened by the snobby, wealthy people that he worked for at various golf resorts he turned to his other passion, cars. He's now been five years in the industry and worked at a few places. His last job was at HB Auto and A/C where the owner was of similar mindset to Tokyo Automotive; very much a forward thinking shop. It's also what led him to work for our shop via the various networking opportunities that the other shop provided. As for cars that Kevin is passionate about, he's hot onto Cadillac CTSV, Chrysler 300s, and GS300. Outside of automotive he enjoys being an Oregon Ducks football fan and he loves big blockbuster movies.

Kimiko Tsuchida

Shop Mom: It’d be hard to imagine a Tokyo Automotive without its matriarch Kimiko Tsuchida. Mom can be found doing paperwork, book-keeping, bringing lunch for “the boys”, or cleaning the office area. Jack of all trades, she is the glue that holds Tokyo Automotive together.

Albert Ramirez

Albert worked at Lexus for over 20 years and reached Master Tech level including Hybrid Certified/certification, also is ASE Master certified. He has worked at 3 independent auto repair shops before finally calling our shop home. He is meticulous in his work and has one of the lowest "fixed right the first time" rates in the industry. He started working professionally in 1984 as a lube tech at Toyota, so roughly 38 years now in the industry. We are proud to have him with us.

Outside of work Albert loves video games, building stuff, Star Wars, Sports, and good craft beer. Speaking of building stuff he's built computers and had ambitions of becoming a roboticist or an astronaut.

Miguel Aguilar

Miguel is the youngest in our crew. He's worked at Miller and Irvine Toyota. Despite being on the short list with experience, his natural talent makes up for it. He's definitely an enthusiast, owning two high powered all-wheel-drive cars; a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and a Subaru WRX STI both with ginormous turbos on them. He's the guy that's always at "Cars and Coffee" meets and various car shows. Outside of work he's a Chargers football fan, loves music (he recently went to EDC), working out at the gym, and travel.

Jorge Barbarini

Started wrenching with his father at the age of 12. Dad had his own shop and Jorge started with high school automotive courses. He was also a part of the whole "rice rocket" generation. He loved to trick out his DA chassis, Acura Integra. Jorge, as he's also known, absolutely zones out in bliss when he is working on cars. Not only is it his profession, but it is also a hobby and a passion. Unlike most technicians, he's articulate and has a background of working as a service writer at other shops. Outside of the shop he enjoys spending time with his kids and going fishing.

Nichole Rael

Service Writer/Shop Manager: Nicole & Tatsu have been friends since 2011 when they met in an automotive electrical class at Cypress College and have kept in touch since. Not just a girl that happened to be in the class, everyone in the class was impressed with how passionate she was about automotive and how she tackled difficult technical tasks, a trait obviously not often found in many women. She would go on to work at O'Reilly Auto Parts, FR Sport, and more recently the service counter at Capistrano Toyota. Although her technical skills are impressive, her people skills are even more so.

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