If there’s one thing you can normally guarantee at Le Mans, it’s a steady downpour of rain at some point during the weekend. And when it rains, the inside of your car soon resembles the muddy quagmire of the field in which you’ve had to park.
Preparing for the journey down to this year’s event in our VW Scirocco GT, we packed the usual accessories; rain coat, umbrellas, breathalyser.. (if you travel to France this summer, make sure you pack one of these), but the one thing we hadn’t thought of was rubber floor mats.
So when Dave Chaggar from Hitech Autoparts called, he was quick to suggest we try some of theirs, which incidentally share a common fitment with the Golf Mk6.
Chances are at some point in the past 30 years you’ve put your feet on a rubber mat produced by Hitech – who’ve engineered them as OEM parts for brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Bentley and Vauxhall.
They acquired Canon mats seven years ago and now supply a comprehensive range of car and van mats, boot liners and mud flaps via their aftermarket site UK Car Mats.
Unlike original dealer accessory mats, which can range from £80 to £170, Hitech’s moulded car mats start from just £32.50 per set. They’re ‘exact fit’ mats, which in the Scirocco’s case mean they clip securely into the fittings provided by Volkswagen and look original rather than aftermarket.
Chaggar explains “Accessories, especially fitted mats, are overpriced by car dealers, which deters people from fitting a product which will protect their car and help maintain its resale value.”
Accessories, especially fitted mats, are overpriced by car dealers..”
Not only that, but of the aftermarket accessories available, only Hitech produce them to the standards demanded on an OEM supplier, especially those from other providers which use a PVC material and smell with a potent rubber odour.
When the Hitech mats arrived and we removed them from their packaging, they smelled odourless – exactly as Chaggar promised ‘and’ as Volkswagen originally intended.
Proof of the pudding though was a weekend’s abuse at the feet of two motorsport enthusiasts – who did everything bar sleep in the car.
The mat’s raised moulded edges are designed to keep debris and fluids within the mat area, which our reviewers thoughtfully tested with near-empty cans of Red Bull, a light sprinkling of Pringles chips and finally that all important Pays de la Loire region mud.
Thankfully the mats did their job and the interior of the Scirocco survived, looking none the worse for wear, unlike our tired (and slightly damp) motorsport enthusiasts. Their rubberised anti-slip design made light work of the rain and not once did their fragrance overcome the natural body odour (Eau de B.O.) of the car’s occupants.
With a growing number of German car makers choosing to use local accessory makers, Hitech are moving away from the OEM sector and betting their future on aftermarket customers. Judging by our experience, they deserve to succeed.
Delivery is included in that £32.50 price and their service level (in my experience) exceeds that of most premium car dealers. On the morning of our delivery I received a text message saying “Your parcel is due for delivery between 09:49-10:49.” It arrived at 10:00 precisely.
If that sounds as impressive to you as it did to me, then get in touch with them on 08455 192 292 or via ukcarmats.co.uk.
The service is great and the mats are pretty good too. As tested by big kids, and small ones in the most demanding of conditions.