From Michelle’s Sacs Australia to MSA 4X4 Accessories.
In 1999, with a plan to travel the country, Shane Miles identified the need for quality canvas accessories bags. This aptitude for innovative ideas led to the birth of “Michelle’s Sacs Australia” in Western Australia in 2000.
Fast forward to today, and MSA 4X4 Accessories is renowned for creating some of the 4WD Industry’s most innovative products. Whilst the company has remained true to its roots with quality canvas storage products, they now form only a small part of the complete range offering of MSA 4X4 Accessories.
MSA 4X4 pride themselves on their original products which include the world first, revolutionary patented Drop Slide, the new patented MSA 4X4 Towing Mirror with its unique pivot design that allows the mirrors to maintain their normal everyday position dimensions, whilst allowing for easy further extension, the patented Explorer Aluminium Storage Drawer System which delivers a whole new level of access to the drawer contents, the Fridge Barrier system, the original Water Bra, fully adjustable Air Lumbar Support systems, and an extensive range of 4WD accessories that have stood the test of time.
Miles Ahead of the Rest in Storage Solutions.
Shane Miles is the proud owner of MSA 4X4, and the man behind the products that MSA 4X4 is famous for. His passion is in the detail of his products, as no matter where you look, everything is carefully thought out for maximum practicality, quality and ease of use.
“The way I think about my products is simple,’ explains Shane. “I think about my father and how hard he’s worked to pay for his vehicle, and how he buys products to go on a holiday. While he’s on a holiday, if those products break or fail to deliver, and that ruins his holiday, it kills me. That is why we strive to develop the best quality products and provide the best service for our customers. We over-engineer everything as I pretend that every customer is my father.”
Original Water Bra from 2003 pictured, and today's Water Bra pictured!
The original Water Bra was a ground-breaking new product that Shane first brought to the market in 2003. “I didn’t know about the patent process when I developed the Water Bra and as a result, a lot of copies were made,’ he explained. The Rear Wheel bag was invented soon after along with another 13 original designs. Whilst many of the early original designs were unprotected from copies, MSA 4X4 Accessories has since been awarded 19 patents with more currently within the patent process.
Original Rear Wheel Bag from 2004 pictured, and today's Rear Wheel Bag pictured!
The Beginning of the Drop Slide
When he invented the drop slide, only straight fridge slides existed. Shane explains “There was one company who had designed the tilt fridge slide, and after using it, I found that I didn’t like the way it worked. I could see some flaws – that’s why I came up with the drop slide. No one had yet imagined the possibility of a Drop Slide, let alone the engineering required to make it a reality.”
“The platform had to lower, but how do I get it to easily raise back up? And that’s where the design came from. I wanted it to function as a drop slide or a straight slide. It was a necessity. People didn’t necessarily always want to drop them. I didn’t want it to just lower – I also wanted it to extend out further. If you just lower the fridge, you can get into all sorts of grief, especially around the tailgate. So, you actually want it to come out further, not just drop. Then you’ve at least got half your fridge past the tailgate. The awesome part of the Drop Slide design is that its very simple to use and it lowers the fridge platform completely level (horizontal) throughout its function and finishes with the over-extension.”
By the time the Drop Slide came along, Shane had learnt the hard way how best to protect his IP with patents. Due to the large-scale popularity and commercial interest in these Drop Slides, MSA 4X4 has had to attribute a significant amount of time and money to defending their design from copies. Shane continues “Unfortunately, while the law is on our side, we still have to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of going through the courts to have copies of our products removed from the industry, and claim money lost. We have started naming and shaming infringing companies, to act as a deterrent to those companies that may be considering copying Aussie inventions.”
Australia's Best 4WD Drawer System!
MSA 4X4's products come from necessity and not being able to source the perfect product that they need. Shane explains “we think way outside the square and design the products that we think are by far the best. We cover the downfall in everyone else's products.” Shane continues “When we design any new product, it has to be as safe as possible; we’re all about safety. It also must be extremely tough and durable; we can’t have any failures, and with our pretty ordinary outback roads, it must be safe, tough and the highest quality that we can manufacture. It must also be simple, not over complicated or difficult to use.”
After years of using other companies’ drawer systems in MSA 4X4’s company vehicles, Shane knew that he could build something better that would make life easier for people, and redefine storage drawer systems. The objective was to create a brand-new drawer system that was designed from the ground up that completely revolutionised what a storage drawer system should be. After more than three years in development, the Explorer Aluminium Storage Drawer System launched in late 2016, and as testament to its vision, immediately became one of MSA 4X4’s most in demand product ranges! The Explorer Aluminium Storage Drawer System has re-set the benchmark in quality 4WD Drawer Systems from a safety, functionality and quality perspective, and has also opened the door for customers wanting the complete MSA 4X4 storage solution fit out, which includes Drawers, Drop Slides, Fridge Barriers, Tourer & Basket Pack rooftop bags, Seat Organisers and a multitude of canvas storage accessories.
Australia's Next Generation Towing Mirrors!
MSA 4X4 put a lot of thought into the accessories installed onto its fleet of vehicles, and we found ourselves in a position where we needed to look at installing towing mirrors, but nothing currently available in the market suited us. Not one for compromising on the perfect solution, we then set about designing what we wanted in an all-round driving and towing mirror. The key was to design a mirror that, when not towing, still looks proportionate to the size and styling of the vehicle. We needed to design a set of mirrors that look just right! Our new MSA 4X4 Towing Mirrors feature a unique design with a large single mirror that pivots on an extremely heavy-duty extension slide, that allows the mirror to be returned to its normal "non-towing" position, to avoid the extended mirrors permanently protruding off the sides of the vehicle. After more than two years in development, the patented MSA 4X4 Towing Mirrors launch at the end of 2019 and is set to become one of MSA 4X4's more popular product ranges.
This passion for inventing new products that make customers’ lives better has delivered a successful business, and MSA 4X4 Accessories continues to grow from strength to strength.