Tag Archive | "Key Replacement Roundup"

American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS)


Demetrios Lahiri, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?
For more than 35 years, the American Financial companies have assisted dealers in increasing sales and maximizing overall profits. At American Financial, our driving force is to enhance the professional image of our industry through exceptional customer service. It is only by consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations that we can earn their loyalty, expand our customer base and increase the value of our products.

We are constantly looking for products that can increase profits in F&I for our dealer partners. However, for American Financial to bring a product to market, that product must provide an actual benefit to the end consumers. With the proliferation of smart keys and key fobs, a key replacement product was a natural fit for our views and the market need.

What makes your product different from others on the market? How do you differentiate it?
American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc.’s key replacement policy offers some of the highest levels of coverage in the marketplace today. In addition to annual benefits provided for key replacement, our product also includes 24 roadside assistance, lockout service, trip routing, and national rental car discounts.

As with all of American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc.’s products, we differentiate our products not just by the product itself, but by the training, development, compliance, and support that goes with said products. From product implementation to sales training to claims administration, we make sure that our products, including key replacement, succeed at a dealership and consumer level.

What is your primary sales channel? How do you market to that channel?
We employ a direct field force that works with our dealer partners at multiple levels. Dealership development managers, regional sales managers and vice presidents of sales all have responsibilities to our dealers/clients.

We utilize our direct field force as a constant point of contact with our existing dealer partners and with any potential dealer partners. By keeping those individuals informed and empowered to present the benefits of key replacement, we have see great success with the product. We utilize in-store visits, e-mail contacts, direct mail contacts and participation in state and national associations such as NADA, NAMAD, CMDA, FMDA, etc.

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?
Technology has impacted us, and the entire industry, by having us push the envelope for coverage items and amounts that will keep up with tomorrow’s key products. In today’s market a certain dollar amount may be enough to satisfy most of the market, but what about a few years from now? What level of coverage will need to be provided to have the same impact for the end consumer? The real question is, will we be able to adapt as we always have. I believe we will be able to adapt as an industry.

The biggest issue in the next 3-5 years will be technology’s desire to eliminate keys from our vehicles completely by using smart phone apps. Creating a product that will provide key replacement benefits for the consumer when there is no key associated with the vehicle will be an interesting endeavor.

In your opinion, where is the greatest growth potential for the Key Replacement category?
Non-luxury makes and models. Since the genesis of key replacement products, everyone in the market acknowledged the value of the product with luxury makes and models. As the technology associated with luxury keys continues to trickle down to the non-luxury makes and models, the consumers need to protect themselves from unforeseen key expenses increases. This truly increased need in the non-luxury arena leads to increased sales opportunities and higher consumer satisfaction.

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Accelerated Service International (ASI)


Timothy Jacobson, Sales & Marketing Manager
Michael Moretz, Vice President of Sales, North America

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?
Accelerated Service International (ASI) has partnered with agents and their dealer clients for over a quarter of a century. ASI’s In-house automotive retail experts and field consultants utilize their years of industry experience to create unique and custom Dealer Service Plan offerings that fill the needs of dealers, agents and consumers. ASI provides programs in the United States, Canada and Europe reaching over 200 general agent partners and 3,000 dealers.

ASI launched its initial key replacement program at the end of 2008. As a business philosophy, ASI interacts directly with its valued agents and dealers, and seeks counsel from underwriters and internal management constantly examining and responding to industry product trends. The feedback was consistent that “Key Replacement” is a new, rapidly-evolving and expanding product idea that the market and consumer are hungry to take advantage of. Once the decision was taken by ASI to pursue this ancillary product offering it became one of ASI’s most successful new programs.

What makes your product different from others on the market? How do you differentiate it?
It is the ASI philosophy to build products that deliver measurable value and create tangible market impacts. The ASI key replacement benefits and related costs are incomparable in the industry. As an example, the 5-Year Term consumer benefit is $5,000 and includes full roadside assistance. Consistent with the ASI philosophy to offer “wholesale” costing to its agents, the key replacement program allows the business manger to provide consumers with a great benefit package at very reasonable pricing —a Win/Win.

Like any “new” product in the business, they eventually become straight-forward offerings over time. What differentiates any product is the level of service provided when a contract holder ultimately files a claim. The ASI claims team is seasoned, with an average of eight years of claims adjudication for a variety of products offered by ASI. Each new ASI product—including key replacement—is daily managed by the knowing and proven abilities or our experienced staff. Claims are settled quickly and paid via company credit card once approved.

The ASI business model also supports the idea of combining multiple ancillary products into one program, a philosophy that has taken years to perfect. High-volume agents and their larger dealer groups can utilize ASI risk specialist to formulate combo-programs custom to them.

What is your primary sales channel? How do you market to that channel?
ASI is an agent-driven company. They are the individuals—usually with retail backgrounds—whom ASI depends upon to spread its message. Quality agents make sure the product is understood and managed properly at the dealer level, insure that claims are handled quickly and as agreed at the consumer level, and continually perform research to improve products and protect dealers from weak product backing at the agency level. The agents representing ASI are invaluable to the growing success of our business model.

The usual avenues are advertising, direct phone calls, e-mail blasts and trade shows. The greatest draw for our agent body, however, is that ASI has been in business through good times and lean—in all cases supporting its dealer and agent commitments. That said, the most common source of growth for ASI is referral. ASI prefers in-person meetings with agents, often inviting them to the offices in Texas or visiting with them and their sub-agents in their regional offices. With the demands and competitive nature of the automotive industry, ASI believe it is better to personally get to know someone who could become a business partner for years, with a relationship that could continue over generations. There is no replacement for a handshake and an eye-to-eye understanding.

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?
With the computer age key technology and functionality expand continually. Smart keys that can unlock doors, start cars, open garages, provide security and operate security systems effortlessly are becoming commonplace even in vehicles considered “value” targeted. Claims have changed in both frequency and average claim amount when compared with the traditional key. It is a trend seemingly without end.

In your opinion, where is the greatest growth potential for the Key Replacement category?
The ASI key program is still experiencing growth since its inception. There has yet to be a plateau. As mentioned earlier as the technology of the vehicle advances so does the key itself. More and more manufacturers will have to follow suit with their own smart keys. The “luxury” class of vehicles isn’t the only class of vehicles manufactured with smart keys now. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the smart key, designers more cognizant of demand, and engineers more creative with computer applications for functionality. Growth for key replacement coverage will continue to expand to match that market as it morphs to the next levels.

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Automobile Protection Corporation (APCO)


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.

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Key Replacement Roundup


Key replacement is a relatively new product in the F&I world, but one that has grown tremendously in the past few years. We talked to some of the providers who offer key replacement to get their take on the product, and where they see it going, and it was no surprise to see their responses – every company we spoke with is expecting huge growth for this category.

Technology essentially created a need for the product, our respondents noted, with the advent of keys and key fobs that do more than simply lock and unlock a car. It started in the luxury space, but all the providers we spoke to see a hard push into the more “entry level” side of the market. Those technologies are trickling down to every make and model of automobile, and that will drive the need for key replacement even further in the next few years.

One interesting trend that emerged, however, is that many of the providers have seen more success overall when bundling this product with other offerings, such as tire & wheel or appearance protection, rather than selling it as a stand-alone product. It seems to benefit from being part of a package – customers perceive a greater value when it’s one component of a bundle.

Below, you’ll find the responses from six providers who offer key replacement products. We hope you find it as interesting a read as we did!

Key Replacement Roundup

American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS)

American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS)
Demetrios Lahiri, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

For more than 35 years, the American Financial companies have assisted dealers in increasing sales and maximizing overall profits. At American Financial, our driving force is to enhance the professional image of our industry through exceptional customer service.

Read More »

Accelerated Service International (ASI)

Accelerated Service International (ASI)
Timothy Jacobson, Sales & Marketing Manager & Michael Moretz, Vice President of Sales, North America

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Accelerated Service International (ASI) has partnered with agents and their dealer clients for over a quarter of a century. ASI’s In-house automotive retail experts and field consultants utilize their years of industry experience to create unique and custom Dealer Service Plan offerings that fill the needs of dealers, agents and consumers.

Read More »

Automobile Protection Corporation (APCO)

Automobile Protection Corporation (APCO)
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.

Read More »

IAS

IAS
Jeff Jagoe, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Founded in 1984, IAS was created to provide practical aftermarket programs and high quality administration and claims. IAS introduced key replacement in the fall of 2007 after a productive trial period with select IAS agents.

Read More »

RoadVantage

RoadVantage
Randy Ross, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

RoadVantage was founded in May 2011 by F&I industry veterans focused on one goal: build a better automotive aftermarket ancillary product company, from the ground up. Starting with a clean slate enabled us to eliminate the legacy issues that can be troublesome with providers and set a new industry standard in the process.

Read More »

Safe-Guard Products International LLC

Safe-Guard Products International LLC
David Duncan, President

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Features such as electronic chips and remote controllers make today’s keys much more costly to replace. Keys are not a $20 item any more. Protecting consumers from the perils of vehicle ownership has always been Safe-Guard’s focus. We strive to provide protection, security and peace of mind whether a customer’s keys are lost, stolen, locked in a vehicle – or even broken.

Read More »

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IAS


Jeff Jagoe, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?
Founded in 1984, IAS was created to provide practical aftermarket programs and high quality administration and claims. IAS introduced key replacement in the fall of 2007 after a productive trial period with select IAS agents.

What makes your product different from others on the market? How do you differentiate it?
The IAS ROAD Key Replacement program will replace lost, stolen or destroyed keys as well as include 24-hour emergency road service.

In 2011, IAS introduced the Key Valet program which protects customers against the expense of destroyed, stolen or lost keys. In addition to the standard benefits of our traditional key replacement program, IAS Key Valet provides consumers:

• 24-hour home lock-out assistance – Provides services to unlock your home and provide up to three key replacements.
• Emergency message relay – Provides assistance relaying an emergency message to up to three family members, friends or business associates.
• Driver valet – Get connected with a preferred rental car service and take delivery of your temporary vehicle.

Plus, the IAS key replacement is backed by the world-class IAS customer service and claims.

What is your primary sales channel? How do you market to that channel?
IAS works with several large dealer groups to customize and private label several of the most popular programs, including key replacement, but the primary sales channel is through a top-notch, nationwide team of general agents. The company markets programs like key replacement to general agents through one-on-one communication with sales staff, at industry conferences, in training events and IAS sponsored workshops.

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?
Just like cassettes and VHS players before them, simple metal car keys are a thing of the past. Today’s automotive keys can do everything from locking and unlocking the car to remote-start the vehicles, causing them to create a category of their own known as the “smart key.” And just like smart phones, they are great to have and very costly to replace. And similar to smart phones that are protected by consumer-bought insurance, consumers are seeing the need for warranties to protect them should their keys be lost, stolen or destroyed. The impact of the very nature of the smart key has caused the program to gain great ground over the last year and we expect it to continue to grow as technology continues to play a part in key production.

In your opinion, where is the greatest growth potential for the Key Replacement category?
IAS has found great success with key replacement when it’s bundled in a multi-product package. It is often combined with door ding protection, windshield repair and replacement, and even tire and wheel. In addition to bundled packages, we are seeing movement in the service drive. A simple question of “where are your spare keys” can close the sale. Overall, the product is a win-win for dealerships and consumers.

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RoadVantage


Randy Ross, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?
RoadVantage was founded in May 2011 by F&I industry veterans focused on one goal: build a better automotive aftermarket ancillary product company, from the ground up. Starting with a clean slate enabled us to eliminate the legacy issues that can be troublesome with providers and set a new industry standard in the process.

RoadVantage offers a full suite of F&I solutions, and we include key replacement because we recognize the value of offering this coverage to dealers and their customers. Due to the standardization of the OEMs’ advanced security technology in automobile keys, along with the expense related to a replacement, we know consumers easily recognize the value of coverage.

What makes your product different from others on the market? How do you differentiate it?
RoadVantage’s comprehensive coverage is unmatched. We offer coverage per occurrence with no aggregate annual limits, and our coverage includes replacement of additional keys on the customer’s key ring. Additionally, home lockout coverage is provided. RoadVantage also offers key replacement as a stand-alone item or in a variety of bundled programs, so agents and dealers can select what best fits with their specific business model.

What is your primary sales channel? How do you market to that channel?
RoadVantage’s primary sales channel is our network of accredited agents across the country. The reputation and experience of our founder, Garret Lacour (who previously founded IAS), and of our executive team, provides us with a long history of relationships. These relationships have opened many doors and we believe will continue to do so. We stay in communication with agents through our monthly e-newsletter, industry events and also through webinars. Our clients and us consider these webinars to be valuable tools. For example, we held webinars in June on “Reducing Claims Fatigue” – we’ve developed a fresh approach to the claims process, making it as simple and effortless as possible for both dealers and agents.

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?
Technology has greatly impacted key replacement in the last several years, and last year was no exception. OEMs are moving to keyless fobs and push-button ignitions, and as always, the more security and technology used in key fobs, the more expensive the replacement.

The market will continue to move toward push-button ignitions, and these technological advancements mean key replacement will continue to gain traction among dealers and their customers.

In your opinion, where is the greatest growth potential for the Key Replacement category?
The greatest opportunity for growth in the key replacement category exists for dealers that offer it as an additional benefit in a “bundled” package. It’s simply a better value proposition. There is growth potential across the board, due to keys becoming more complex and expensive – making this product more desirable to both customers and dealers.

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