Boot Liner Development

06/11/2017 - Boot Liner Development

It’s incredible to think that we initially launched a boot lining kit way back in 2004, after Andy (the boss) had made one for his own Classic Mini and a fellow theminiforum.co.uk member said "that looks great, can you make me one?”. The boot liner was the beginning of Optimise Automotive, it was the first item we developed, the first item we released for sale and the first inkling and inspiration behind the process of Andy turning a pass time into a job.

From day 1 our boot liner was far superior to anything else on the market, the reason Andy made one for his own Mini was because he thought the boot liners that were available at the time were terrible. However, over the years, as Optimise has grown & developed into what we are today, our boot lining kits have also improved & developed - thus increasing our production costs and (more importantly to you guys) increasing the final sale costs of the range.

Times have changed and sadly (it almost brings tear to our eyes) this means that our “boot lining kit original” (the final reincarnation of the boot liner Andy developed in 2004) has been retired from the range.
 

01_Equinox_Styling_Boot_Liner

02_Equinox_Styling_Boot_Liner     03_Equinox_Styling_Boot_Liner
The photos that started it all… Andy’s boot liner, installed in his Classic Mini Equinox (2005).
 

Why? I hear you ask…

Regrettably, with a price of £45 (+P&P) you guys are no longer buying our original boot lining kit. It’s never been the cheapest kit on the market, but that hasn’t ever mattered as you guys have always been willing to pay a little bit more, to get something far superior. Frustratingly though, following a recent price increase of £5 (in August 2017), the jump from £35 (inc P&P) for the entry level boot liners available on eBay to £45 (+P&P) for our kit is obviously too much.
 

But do not fear…

As always, we listen to our customers, we understand what you want and as a result, we have developed a new range of boot liners - including two different boot liners, designed specifically with your budgets in mind:

  1. The first new boot lining kit is an entry level boot lining kit, developed and launched to rival the budget entry level end of the market. Specifically designed for those of you who want a budget solution to lining your boot, this kit is perfect - it’s the best entry level kit ever offered for the Classic Mini and a great addition to our product range. Just like our original boot liner, designed & developed in 2004, we are extremely proud of the quality of this entry level kit.
     
  2. The second new kit is a premium level boot lining kit, it is without doubt the best boot lining kit we have ever offered - it’s head and shoulders above anything else on the market and it is more of an install kit, rather than a lining kit. This new kit sets a new standard, it’s the ultimate boot liner and you will not find a better solution to lining your boot.
     

So how did we do it?

We started by getting hold of one of the £35 (inc P&P) entry level boot liners available on eBay - “how do they do it?” was our thinking, surly if others can offer such a cheap kit, we can as well. From the moment it arrived, it was obvious where the money is saved:

  1. First of all it turned up with Yodel, instantly a saving of £4 (ish). We refuse to use the cheaper courier companies (Yodel and MyHermes) - the problems they cause are not worth the hassle. We pride ourselves here at Optimise by doing things right so we will be sticking to using reputable professional courier companies to deliver our items.
     
  2. Secondly (again without even opening the parcel), it was packaged in a plastic bag, another saving of around £2. However, we refuse to package items in un-protective packaging - our boot lining kits are packaged in specifically designed cardboard boxes, we won’t be changing that.

    Cheap_Boot_Liner_01
    Entry level eBay boot liner, in plastic bag non-protective packaging.
     
  3. We then opened the bag and within 30 seconds it was evident to us, why these kits can be manufactured and sold for around £28 (+P&P):

    - There is no support on the right hand side of the bottom board.
    - The back board and the bottom board are the same size.
    - The left and right hand side boards are the same size and shape (simply mirrored).
    - The carpet hasn’t been trimmed tight onto the boards.
    - There’s a staple about every 8cm.

    Cheap_Boot_Liner_02
    Entry level eBay boot liner, layed out in kit form.
     
  4. We knew there was no point fitting this kit to our demo Mini (we knew it would be a terrible fit), but we fitted it anyway and our suspicions were spot on:

    - Because the back board is the same size as the base board, the back board doesn’t line/fill the back of the boot and there is a gap, you can see see the back seat firewall. This renders the back board pointless - the back board simply needs to be wider than the bottom board, it’s just common sense.

    - As there is no support for the right hand side of the bottom board (the left hand side sits on the spare wheel) it pivots (left to right). This is emphasised when you install the right hand side board, it is designed to sit on top of the bottom board but you can’t sit it on the bottom board - as its weight pivots the bottom board and the right hand side board falls over. You simply cannot install a bottom board without some sort of support on the right hand side.

    - That nicely brings us onto the side boards, as they are the same size & shape the right hand side board doesn’t fit - it's too small (credit where credit is due though, the left hand side board fits well).
     

Anyway, here it is, fitted in all it’s glory (honestly - we haven’t fitted it badly to make it look bad, it’s really that bad):


Cheap_Boot_Liner_03
Entry level eBay boot liner, back board panel gap.

Cheap_Boot_Liner_04
Entry level eBay boot liner, petrol tank board panel gap.

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Entry level eBay boot liner, right hand side board panel gap.
 

Needless to say, despite being able to offer this kit for around the same price (inc P&P if we used Yodel and package it in a plastic bag) - we instantly decided that there is no way we would want to put our name to something that doesn’t fit.
 

So, our research was complete…

It was obvious that we had to start completely from scratch and we went right back to the drawing board and decided to reinvent the boot lining kit (just as Andy did back in 2004). As mentioned above, we made the decision to launch two new boot lining kits:

  1. Firstly, a new entry level boot lining kit that was cheaper than our current boot lining kit. A very simple design brief - design & develop the best possible boot lining kit, at the cheapest possible price.
     
  2. Secondly, a new deluxe boot lining kit with another simply design brief - design & develop the ultimate boot lining kit.
     

Lets start with the entry level boot lining kit…

The sole concept behind a boot lining kit has to be functionality (function is the main reason why you would look to install a boot liner), so this entry level kit had to do its job, it had to be fit for purpose and it had to line the boot - otherwise, it’s pointless.

Therefore, first and foremost, the kit has to fit in and around the standard equipment installed within the MK3 (Onwards) Classic Mini boot - this includes:

  • The standard 7.5 gallon petrol tank.
  • The standard 12” x 5.5” spare wheel.
  • The standard battery.

With functionality in mind, we knew we had to achieve the following:

  • The right hand side of the base board needed to have some sort of support (otherwise the base board will not be stable and secure).
  • Each individual board had to be shaped to align perfectly within the Classic Mini’s contoured boot.
  • And finally, when installed each individual board had to perfectly fit together to create a sealed boot liner (otherwise your belongings could fall between the gaps).

And with cost in mind we also knew we had to achieve the following:

  • To keep the manufacturing costs down the boot liner had to have as few parts as possible.
  • To keep the woodworking & trimming costs down each part of the boot liner had to be as simple as possible.
  • To keep packaging costs down the boot liner had to lay flat.

This is what we came up with:


Boot_Lining_Kits_Installed_01
Optimise Automotive entry level boot lining kit, trimmed in red carpet.
 

As you can see on the photo above, it ticks all the boxes when installed - it completely lines the boot, the base board is sturdy & secure and most importantly, we can offer this kit at an entry level price.

As you can see, we have introduced a carpet flap to the front of the base board which means that you cannot see into the gap (between the boot opening and the boot lining kit base board), hiding the spare wheel & battery. Each individual board is shaped to align perfectly within the Classic Mini’s contoured boot (unlike other entry level kits available) and finally, with regards to the right hand side support (to ensure that the bottom board is stable) - the right hand side of the base board sits on a specifically designed support bar (which is attached to the right hand side board), this creates a solid base for the kit allowing you to confidently store items in your boot.


Boot_Lining_Kits_Installed_02
Optimise Automotive entry level boot lining kit, trimmed in red carpet.
 

Entry level objectives achieved, onto the deluxe kit…

As with our entry level kit, this deluxe kit has to work - the number one aim is for perfect functionality, this deluxe kit had to do it’s job, it had to be fit for purpose and it had to line the boot.

Therefore, first and foremost, the kit has to fit in and around the standard equipment installed within the MK3 (Onwards) Classic Mini boot - and just like the entry level kit, this includes:

  • The standard 7.5 gallon petrol tank.
  • The standard 12” x 5.5” spare wheel.
  • The standard battery.

And, despite being a deluxe boot lining kit the principal functionality of the kit remains the same as the entry level kit:

  • The right hand side of the base board needed to have some sort of support (otherwise the base board will not be stable and secure).
  • Each individual board had to be shaped to align perfectly within the Classic Mini’s contoured boot.
  • And finally, when installed each individual board had to perfectly fit together to create a sealed boot liner (otherwise your belongings could fall between the gaps).

In addition to the entry level kit, as cost is not a consideration with this deluxe boot liner we can look to improve the function of the kit and also introduce additional features, to enhance the kits funcationality. This meant we could also look into adding the following enhancements:

  • Additional panels, to help secure and stabilise the kit.
  • Fixing & fastenings, to secure the kit into place.
  • Additional features such as easy access removable panels, allowing you to access the windscreen water washer bottle and/or the battery.

However, we also knew that postage & packaging had to be a consideration - so despite the free reign on costings the kit still had to package flat and compact for postage. A vast majority of boot lining kits that we sell are dispatched throughout the UK and Europe, so a careful consideration of packaging methods is always essential. This ensures that each and every item that we dispatch arrives safely with the customer.

This is what we came up with:


Boot_Lining_Kit_-_Deluxe_01
Optimise Automotive deluxe boot lining kit, trimmed in anthracite carpet.
 

As you can see on the photo above, it ticks all the boxes when installed - it completely lines the boot, the base board is sturdy & secure and most importantly, as this is a deluxe kit, it has the additional features & quality that ensure it is the best boot liner on the market.

We have introduced a front panel (to the base board) that means you cannot see into the gap (between the boot opening and the boot lining kit base board), hiding the spare wheel and battery. To ensure that the kit is as sturdy and secure as possible, the right hand side of the base board sits on a specifically designed support, it is attached to the base board and perfectly follows the contours of the boot floor, for the ultimate support. In addition to this our deluxe boot lining kit is installed using a fixing kit (unlike all other kits on the market that simply slot together and slide into place without fixings) - each corner of the kit is attached and installed using either a magnetic catch or velcro. This means you can bounce your Mini over speed bumps and keep your foot planted through pot holes with the confidence that your boot lining kit boards will remain in place, protecting the contents of your boot.

Finally, we have the unique additional features - our right hand side board design means that you can very simply remove the right hand side board to gain access to the windscreen wiper water bottle and the optional battery access panel on the base board allows you access to the battery terminals, without having to remove the kit - a must have feature for any weekend driver who disconnects their battery between outings.


Boot_Lining_Kit_-_Deluxe_03
Optimise Automotive deluxe boot lining kit, trimmed in anthracite carpet.
 

So there you have it, two new boot lining kits and both are the best on the market.