THE KEY TO SUCCESS
Electronic key technology is often considered a black art best left to vehicle manufacturers and dealers, but specialist wholesaler locksmith supplier, The Key Guys, has developed a cost-effective and simple way for auto electricians and mechanics to enter this replacement key market
Modern vehicles are full of amazing technology designed to make life easy, but the loss of one small item can leave us stranded at home, at work, at a shopping centre or even in the middle of nowhere. That item? An ignition key.
In ‘the good old days,’ you could simply take your basic metal key to the local hardware store where the proprietor quickly cut you a replacement; you handed over a few dollars and were quickly on your way.
Today, with the advent of electronic keys, you are forced to visit your dealership, where the price of a replacement key rivals that of a new car. Car owners are held to ransom – pay the high cost; or get used to walking.
Recognising the need for a cheaper alternative, The Key Guys has created the TKG Kiosk, an aftermarket-replacement key duplicator that not only assists consumers, but also creates new business opportunities for auto electricians and mechanics.
“Our primary business is locksmiths, but I believe there is an opportunity for auto electricians and mechanics in this industry,” The Key Guys Director, Brett Noonan, said.
“These guys are probably selling genuine products now, but a genuine product could cost $250. Then you need to charge the programming fee on top of that, and that’s when the cost blows out.
“The industry has changed and we have made it cost effective for these types of business operators to make remote housings and cut keys, and then program the key to the vehicle.
“With our TKG Kiosk, an auto technician can make and program a remote key in-house. We sell a blank remote or flip key for a standard Mazda, Toyota, or similar vehicle, for under $30, depending on the car. A Mercedes IR key that you put into the dash, for example, sells for about $55, so there is a huge margin in it for the person making the key.”
In addition to lower costs, Brett says the Kiosk also benefits customer convenience.
“If a customer sources a genuine product, they have to leave their vehicle at the dealership all day. With our system, you can make a key on the spot, within 30 minutes,” Brett explained.
“At the moment, we sell to locksmiths and anyone else who does automotive keys. A lot of our customers operate in shopping centres where they sell a lot of this product to passers-by who think, ‘I’ve only got one key, I’ll see if this guy can cut a new key so I have a spare’. There is a lot of walk-through traffic; you’d be surprised just how many people have only one key.
“With our Kiosk, service centres can leverage this need to create add-on sales. When a customer comes into your service centre, you can ask them how many keys they have. If they answer just one, you can offer to quickly and cost-effectively make a spare key for them on the spot. A lot of people don’t know where to get a new key, so you are definitely helping your customer as well.”
Despite the complexity of modern auto locksmith technology, the TKG Kiosk is designed for simplicity and is easy to use.
“It’s a compact work trolley fitted with a key-cutting machine, a remote generator, which is the KD900, remote blank housings and key blades, and a transponder – all in one package,” Brett explained.
“It’s something we are working on and it is going to make it easy for auto electricians and mechanics to enter this industry. They can simply wheel the Kiosk to the car, cut the key, program it, and away you go. It is very simple.
“If, for instance, you are doing a Mazda3, you search and find the specific remote, generate that key, put a battery in it, and program it to the car, just like a genuine product.”
And this is just the entry-level TKG Kiosk. It can be customised to suit the needs of any service centre. The KD 900 generates remote keys for mid-range vehicle brands, while the VVDI produces Mercedes-Benz keys, and the VVDI 2 is used for BMW, Volkswagen and Audi vehicles.
The devices are capable of holding thousands of remotes and creating an enormous range of automotive keys.
“The devices service up to 90 percent of vehicles world-wide,” Brett said.
“Over the years more and more vehicles have been added, and over the last two years the number has doubled.”
The Key Guys also provide high level customer support, including training.
“We employ highly qualified staff with extensive experience with automotive products, which is a must when doing this sort of product,” Brett said.
“We are focused on delivering excellent service and the continued, timely support that our industry needs. That’s why we provide training and technical support to all our customers.”
For more information visit www.thekeyguys.com.au