David Colville, Director of Training
Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?
Automobile Protection Corp. (APCO) was established in 1984. From day one, our philosophy has been to provide leading edge benefits that enhance a consumer’s vehicle ownership experience. We strive every day to deliver world class service to our customers, dealers and agent representatives.
We were one of the first companies to recognize the consumers’ need for a key replacement program. We understood in August of 2007, with the launch of our EasyCare KeyCare benefit program, that replacing lost or damaged high-tech electronic keys, fobs and transponders can be very expensive. Our mission for our EasyCare KeyCare program is to simply provide our customers with a low cost way to protect their investment.
What makes your product different from others on the market? How do you differentiate it?
EasyCare KeyCare is the only key replacement program to have earned the Motor Trend Recommended Best Buy designation. EasyCare KeyCare provides replacement of all the keys on the customer’s key ring, plus the transponder for the covered vehicle and any applicable programming. Unlike some key replacement programs, EasyCare does not limit the number of occurrences. In addition, our program provides 24-hour vehicle and home lock-out assistance; taxi, rental and towing assistance; and emergency message relay for up to three people. EasyCare KeyCare provides customers with a key tag to place on their key ring, which allows finders of lost keys to drop them in the mail and receive a reward for doing so.
As with all of our EasyCare benefits, EasyCare KeyCare is designed to enhance a consumer’s overall vehicle purchasing experience.
What is your primary sales channel? How do you market to that channel?
We market to automobile dealerships through our national independent agent base.
How has technology impacted Key Replacement in the last year, if at all? Do you see it having an impact in the future? Why or why not?
Customers recognize the need to protect their keys now more than ever. Today’s key technology is so advanced that you can no longer go to your local locksmith, spend a couple bucks and have new keys cut. Replacing a vehicle’s high-tech keys and transponders can be a very expensive proposition. Our customers want to avoid that expense, as well as the aggravation, inconvenience and potential danger.
In your opinion, where is the greatest growth potential for the Key Replacement category?
Customers will always have that sinking feeling when they can’t find their keys. Ever-increasing advancements in key/fob technology will continue, which will keep the cost of replacing keys and key fobs high. And, as with many other hi-tech features that trickle down from high-end vehicles into more main-stream vehicles, that advanced technology is becoming more and more common on more new vehicles. The proliferation of this advanced key and key fob technology to more models, including entry level vehicles, will increase consumer demand for an affordable way for all consumers to protect their vehicle keys with EasyCare KeyCare.