New cars increasingly shipping out with only one key fob

Recent purchasers of new cars are reporting that when their motor ships out, it’s arriving with only one electronic key fob. The trend is driven by microchip shortages and is likely to affect a number of drivers in the UK in the coming months.

The microchip shortage and its ongoing impact

A global shortage of semiconductor computer chips has been hitting many industries over the last few years, including computing and the domestic appliances markets. Now it’s affecting the automotive industry too.

Exacerbated by the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, the microchip shortage is holding up car production lines and some car manufacturers are choosing to ship out new cars with just one key fob as a way of cutting down on the number of chips needed per car.

The manufacturers cutting down on key fobs

At the moment, Audi appears to be the manufacturer that most routinely sending out cars without a second key fob. There are also reports that Toyota, Jaguar and Porsche have delivered new motors with only one fob. Most brands are advising customers that they plan to send out a second fob once the current microchip shortage eases.

What to do if your key is lost or malfunctioning

If your key fob stops working or is malfunctioning, get in touch with your local dealership. In many cases, they can open your car remotely to allow you access. There are also alternative options for a number of models, allowing you to start and control your car using an app on your phone or with a pre-programmed card using contactless technology. Your local dealer will be able to help you find a suitable solution for your car or order you a new key fob.

What to do if your key is lost or stolen

Lost or stolen car keys are a common problem and if you’ve been a victim of theft, it is a good idea to report the missing keys to the police and ask for a crime reference number. This can be passed on to your insurance provider and is especially useful if you have car key cover included in your home contents or car insurance. You should also contact your local dealership to have your old key deactivated and to find out about having a new one programmed.

Ways to keep your key fob safe

Lost keys are a common complaint, but there are a few things you can do to minimise your chances:

  • Be sure to store your key fob in a safe place between trips, ideally not in the entranceway to your home where an opportunistic thief could access them quickly
  • Avoid placing your keys on a table or bar when out socialising and keep them in a zipped pocket where possible.
  • Adding an Apple airtag or other Bluetooth device to your key fob can make it easier to track down lost or missing keys.
  • Checking whether your car keys are included on your current car or home insurance policy can also offer peace of mind, especially when you only have one key fob.
Single Keys