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The Latest Trends in Vehicle Keys


Technological advancement in the automotive industry has seen many new cars that are better, stronger, and more beautiful. Car keys can now be carried in your smartphone or even your smartwatch. Different car manufacturers, such as BMW, have introduced Ultra-wideband technology that helps car owners to remotely lock and even unlock their cars. 

In this article, we will look at the new trends in vehicle keys and different types of car keys. We will also analyze the demand, market share, and expected growth rate of the automotive digital key market. 

Table of Contents
Demand, market share, and size of the automotive digital key market
Types of vehicle keys
New trends in vehicle keys

Demand, market share, and size of the automotive digital key market

Car key laying inside the car

As of 2021, the automotive digital key market size was valued at USD 1.41 Billion, and the figure is expected to reach USD 5.63 Billion by the year 2030, according to Verified Market Research. It means the digital key market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.3% between the years 2022 to 2033. The high demand for digitization and automation are among the main factors leading to increased demand for automotive digital keys. 

Asia Pacific region holds the largest share in the global digital key market owing to the fact they are adopting the latest technology in the automotive industry. India, Japan, and China are among the largest contributors to the global automotive market, manufacturing keyless vehicles. 

Types of vehicle keys

1. Flip style car key

Flip style car key

The flip style car keys, also known as switchblade car keys, have been used for many years. Due to their compact nature, many vehicle manufacturers continue to use flip style keys today. A distinctive feature of the flip style car keys is their ability to fold away when they are not being used. 


  • Hands-free operation
  • Automatic locking of the car 
  • More layers of security
  • Use less space in the pocket


  • Replacing and repairing the flip style car keys is costly

2. Laser cut car key

Laser cut car keys were introduced in the 1990s and were mainly used by brands with luxury cars. The main reason why luxury car brands introduced the laser cut car key was to minimize car theft. Compared to other car keys, laser cut car keys are thicker.


  • Laser cut car keys can be inserted in any direction 
  • They are difficult to replicate
  •  Have the ability to utilize a transponder chip


  • They are expensive to replace or repair
  • Laser cut car keys can break easily

3. Master car key

Master car keys are special in that they can start ignitions of different cars and unlock the doors. These keys are only meant to be used by locksmiths and automobile professionals. 


  • They come in handy in case of an emergency
  • Convenience- with master car keys, you can start up any ignition and unlock car doors


  • There is no security in place for master car keys that are lost
  • Acquiring master car keys is difficult
  • Master car keys are expensive 

4. Remote car key

Remote car key

Remote car keys are almost similar to laser cut keys but have more functionality. The laser cut car keys can only utilize a transponder chip, but the remote car keys have buttons that can deactivate the car alarm and unlock the vehicle. You can use the remote car keys to unlock a car when you are a few steps away. 


  • They come with convenience and comfort 
  • Added security 


  • Remote car keys are a bit expensive 
  • They are bulkier compared to typical keys

5. Smart car key

A chevrolet smart key

These are the latest types of car keys that many vehicle manufacturers are utilizing. The smart car keys can easily be detected by cars when you are close by. With the smart car key, you have the freedom to start your vehicle by pressing the button on the key, and you can drive the car without inserting the key into the ignition. 


  • They are the most convenient car keys
  • Smart car keys are luxury
  • They save the hassle that comes with the ignition
  • Theft prevention
  • They have smart features like popping the trunk open


  • They are costly to replace
  • Security risk

New trends in vehicle keys

1. Increased demand for automotive keys

Car keys

Vehicle keys lock and unlock cars, ignite engines, and provide vehicle security, making them crucial components in every car. Although different types of car keys are available in the market, smart car keys take the lead as they come with many amazing benefits. Using the smart car key allows one to operate the vehicle without even touching it. 

There is high demand for automobiles worldwide, making the automotive car key market increase in size. The need for enhanced vehicle security and safety from consumers has led to the production of smart car keys that are durable, reliable, and lightweight. 

2. Rise of IOT

The Internet of Things is finding its way into the automotive industry fast, with car manufacturers wanting to ensure consumers have the best experience driving their vehicles. Undoubtedly, all vehicle manufacturers want to make their cars smarter, more comfortable, and more efficient. With IOT, car manufacturers can now provide consumers with a variety of applications that are beneficial to them, including;

  • Speed control
  • Fuel tracking 
  • Advanced driver assistance systems
  • In-vehicle infotainment systems

Car manufacturers are combining forces with the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration to combat cybersecurity challenges in the automotive industry. IOT will continue to rise in the coming years, and new solutions will come to light. 

3. Digital keys are beloved by Chinese automakers

China, one of the key players in vehicle production and consumption, has embraced digital car keys. BYD introduced the smartphone Bluetooth-based digital key back in 2014. The key could lock and unlock vehicles without having to use any network. A few years later, Xiaopeng Motors, Geely, GAC NE, and Changan Automobile followed and ensured the Bluetooth key was rolled out. A total of 14 passenger car brands in China were using Bluetooth car keys between January and July 2020. 

Beijing Hyundai and BMW are just a few brands planning to adopt digital keys in their future car models. 

4. Rise of integrated vehicle key solutions 

Digital car key

BLE, NFC, and UWB are the three digital car key solutions that can lock, unlock and even start cars separately. Any chance to integrate these three solutions into one terminal can be beneficial to consumers in many ways. There are efforts to merge these solutions into a smartphone or any smart wearable device where they can work together and also perform their different parts effectively. 

As an integrated solution, 

-BLE will work to wake up a car and authorize transmission, 

-UWB will be focused on locating where the car user will be as soon as the vehicle wakes up, and 

-NFC will act as another option to unlock and start the car just in case the mobile phones or a smart wearable device drains power.


Many car manufacturers are adopting digital car keys to satisfy their customers and give them an easy time using their vehicles. The benefits obtained from using digital car keys cannot be overlooked, which is why the demand continues to rise daily. The trends mentioned above will see the digital car keys market rise to greater heights. To learn more about digital car keys, visit Alibaba.com

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