Our automotive customer came to us with a challenge of materials. They needed to replace a cut-and-sewn leather gear shift boot application with an economical simulated leather shift boot that would be used across several truck lines, while maintaining the quality look and feel of the sewn leather with the new design.
Using the slush molded process, Midwest Rubber engineers created a shift boot with the beautiful look and durable performance of leather, but not the hefty price tag. The recreation of the leather grain and stitching was so authentic it fooled automotive reviewers and focus group participants. During the first year of production, Midwest Rubber saved the customer over $1 million. It was also proven that the new shift boot improved noise, vibration and harshness over the leather boot. Model redesigns after the first year in production eliminated its use in two product lines, but the shift boot is still used in the most popular line. One of the two boots was even able to be modified to fit a newer transmission style.