With car buyers demanding a shorter dealership sales process, salespeople don’t have time to search for vehicle keys when prospects want to test drive a car. Attaching lock boxes containing vehicle keys to the side of each vehicle appears to be a perfect solution: The key isn’t out in the open on a pegboard, and it’s kept close to the vehicle, eliminating the hassle of matching the key to the vehicle.
The problem is, while this solution is convenient for salespeople, it also makes it easier for thieves to steal vehicles. The thief simply has to smash the lock box open to remove the key and drive off in the vehicle.
One unlucky dealership, which happened to store its keys in lock boxes, experienced a theft in which thieves stole six vehicles in a mere 10-15 minutes. In a video that shows a shot of one of the recovered stolen vehicles, there is body damage above where the lock box was installed, indicating that the thieves went after the vehicle keys.
Lock-box-related thefts have been known to happen before. A dealership in Florida experienced $130,000 in losses after thieves smashed open lock boxes and used the keys to steal several vehicles. In Connecticut, a dealership suffered $200,000 in losses after thieves took advantage of vehicle lock boxes to steal five cars.
For security, keys must be kept in a secure location inside the dealership, ideally behind locked doors. To address the need for quickly finding vehicles on the lot, dealerships can use a lot management solution to quickly look up vehicle locations on their lot from either their key management system or their mobile device.
How does your dealership strike a balance between convenience and security when managing keys?