When I picked up the A-Class, it only came with a single key and FOB. I find that most car owners lose their extra set of keys, only one used car I have bought had two. After reading about owning a Mercedes for a few months, I realized getting a replacement key could take weeks which left me with some concern since I had a single key.
So far in my life I have not lost a single car key and I do not expect to lose one. I did not want to experience a situation where the car was stranded in a parking lot someplace for a week or two while I await a key from Germany, so I decided to acquire a new key and FOB.
From all of my research you can not simply go to a locksmith and get a new key and FOB, you have to go to a Mercedes dealership where they validate your ownership of the vehicle and order the key direct from Gerrmany. It was my understanding this would not be a inexpensive process, but I wanted the safety of two keys so I budgeted $300 for the new key.
The closest Mercedes dealership to me was Smythe Mercedes in San Jose, CA. I took a short break from work and drove fifteen minutes to the dealership since I decided it would be too complicated of a phone call and there may be some need to see paperwork before ordering the key. The decision to drive to the dealership was correct, the dealership needed to copy my drivers license and the car registration before they could place the order.
The parts manager advised that he could order the key, it would take additional time because they could not order via the computer system. Normally, if you have a US sold car, they just input your VIN and place the order direct from Germany. In the case of a grey market Mercedes, they have to fax the paperwork to a team in New Jersey who processes the paperwork, verifies your car information, and then places the order direct with Mercedes Germany.
I placed the order with Smythe Mercedes on December 11th and by December 19th, the key had arrived. I snuck out of the office December 20th and picked the new key up. The process to program the remote FOB with the car was identical to most Mercedes of the 2001 vintage, so the Parts Manager was able to help program it. The FOB is nearly identical to the original FOB from 2001, the Mercedes Benz logo is a colored emblem which sticks out.
The total cost was $251.43, which is a lot of money for such a small piece of plastic, but worth it for piece of mind.