Company is on a mission to make replacing car keys simple and affordable again.
Louisville, KY, November 18, 2022—From bootstraps to big business, Car Keys Express has grown to become the world’s largest key replacement company.
Car Keys Express began two decades ago on a dining room table in a one-bedroom apartment when its founder, Mark Lanwehr began what would become the world's first online store to sell automotive keys and remotes to consumers.
Then, in 2008, with just a few employees, the company purchased a second-hand van and tested replacing car keys for local dealerships. After persistent setbacks related to the 2008 great recession, and by relentlessly reinvesting profits, Car Keys Express steadily expanded across North America.
As car makers introduced new technologies that increased the price of keys by hundreds of dollars, Lanwehr gambled and diverted investment from the rapidly-growing mobile business into R&D. This paved the way for cost savings while adding the opportunity to bring automotive key replacement back into retail–something that was missing for 30 years.
Car Keys Express is consistently first-to-market with industry-changing technologies, including:
- The first internet store to sell car keys and remotes
- The first discount mobile key service
- The first car key recycler
- The first universal car remote
- The first universal car key
- The first retail optical key scanner
- The first car key replacement app
- The first consumer disposable universal key pairing device
- The first car key vending machine
The R&D gamble paid off, fueling the company’s rapid growth. For six consecutive years from 2016-2021, Car Keys Express won Inc. Magazine’s coveted “Inc. 5000” award, recognizing America’s fastest-growing private companies. Today, the company employs nearly 500 employees across North America serving 8000 business clients.
In 2018, the company launched Car Care Express, offering mobile vehicle reconditioning services for businesses and consumers. In 2020, after outgrowing several locations in Louisville, the company moved to its current 100,000 square foot headquarters in east Louisville.
The company’s vision for the future includes accelerating expansion into consumer channels. CKE has a fully committed R&D pipeline including products and technologies aimed at bringing simple, inexpensive automotive key replacement back to retail and end-users alike.
“I’m extremely proud to be marking our 20th anniversary. It’s an achievement few company founders get to celebrate.” Said Mark Lanwehr, Founder and CEO of Car Keys Express.
“To our employees, customers, stakeholders and friends – we thank you for your continued commitment to Car Keys Express. We’re looking forward to sharing the celebration of our anniversary with you during the coming year.
It is particularly gratifying to be celebrating this anniversary as the future for our unique technologies looks so bright. Our core mobile business has never been stronger. Demand for our traditional and digital key solutions continues to grow, and we’re at the forefront building new, dynamic markets for our products around the globe.
For most people, if you want to buy a car key, you need to go to a dealership. That's a monopoly, and it's been that way for 30 years. Our unique technologies let you make keys from your phone, from a retailer, or from a vending machine. When you have patented technologies that end a monopoly of something in everyone’s pockets, it's a good time to be a part of CKE.”
About Car Keys Express Car Keys Express is a global leader in discount, automotive key replacement for businesses and consumers. The company invented the world's first Universal Car Remote and Universal Car Keys and is the only company that manufactures a full line of aftermarket versions of modern car keys, like remote keys and smart keys. Car Keys Express offers a complete line of retail-friendly solutions to allow retailers to build a key replacement program or enhance an existing program. Car Care Express, a division of Car Keys Express, offers mobile vehicle reconditioning service for businesses and consumers. Founded in 2002, Car Keys Express is continually recognized for excellence in the industry, winning Inc. Magazine’s, “Inc. 5000” in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, AAPEX "Best New Product" Award in 2015 and 2019, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year® in 2017, and EnterpriseCorp’s FAST Innovation Award Winner in 2017, among others. To learn more, visit www.CarKeysExpress.com.
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