Average car payments have been rising for a while. Although auto loan delinquency rates have been down since the height of the pandemic, Ford applied for a patent to make the repossession process go smoother. For the bank, that is.
The patent document was submitted to the United States Patent Office in August 2021 but it was formally published Feb. 23. It's titled "Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle." It describes several ways to make the life of somebody who has missed several car payments harder.
It explicitly says the system, which could be installed on any future vehicle in the automaker's lineup with a data connection would be capable of "[disabling] a functionality of one or more components of the vehicle." Everything from the engine to the air conditioning. For vehicles with autonomous or semi-autonomous driving capability, the system could "move the vehicle from a first spot to a second spot that is more convenient for a tow truck to tow the vehicle... move the vehicle from the premises of the owner to a location such as, for example, the premises of the repossession agency," or, if the lending institution considers the "financial viability of executing a repossession procedure" to be unjustifiable, the vehicle could drive itself to the junkyard.