There is always something that you end up being best known for and for us this is it. Perhaps the most impressive thing about it is that even though it was created over 30 years ago sales today are still rising.
“Stoplock has stood the test of time. At its inception it would have predominately been used on older vehicles with less than adequate security levels, the problems of keyless entry have seen the product migrate to the premium end of the automotive market. We continue to see demand grow as car crime seems to be an ongoing problem.”
Neil Haines, Chief Executive, Saxon Brands
It all started when we met Metro Products (later sold to Saxon) at a trade show in London. They had just returned from a business trip to Australia where they had seen a rather cumbersome and ugly steering wheel lock called ‘The Club’. This product was having some success in the market despite its drawbacks and the brief to us was very simple ‘Can you do something like this but make it nicer?’
Step 1: How to improve something that is already selling?
This was the era before car crime rocketed in the mid ‘90s and aftermarket for car security locks was in its infancy – in fact the only one in the UK market was the Krooklok which was like a double ended walking stick that hooked your steering wheel to your brake pedal!
The best way to figure out how an existing product can be improved is to get people to use it and tell you what they think. The feedback on the Club was that it was cumbersome and not very secure, either because it could be prised off the wheel, or it’s telescopic action quickly ‘un-telescoped’ with a brisk hammer blow on the end.
Step 2: Universal
Perhaps the biggest challenge for any accessory product is how to make it work with as many different things as possible. The suction cup mount for car phones was a good solution since every car has a windscreen in front of the driver. The dashboard is different in every car so finding a common fixing point would be extremely difficult.
The Club product was starting to have problems with the new designs of steering wheels that were chunkier and had bulky airbags since the hooks would not fit onto opposing parts of the rim.
So, we asked ourselves what all steering wheels had in common? The Eureka moment happened on a sunny walk home from the office as I gazed into all the cars parked along the side of the road.
Steering wheels never have spokes in the top half because if they did you wouldn’t be able to see the speedo!
That meant there was a consistent large space to do something clever with, and the clever thing we did was to thread the bar under the rim instead off hooking onto it like the Club did.
Instantly this gave a product with only one clasp instead of the two hooks of the club had it didn’t need to be adjustable. Not only was the manufacturing cost slashed by doing this but the product itself became a sleek and elegant consumer product that was soft to the touch and didn’t look like something out of the garage.