Payment Pains: Ford files patent for car payment system that could remotely shut off vehicle engine, air conditioning and more

Toronto, Ontario — Ford Motor Co. has filed a patent for a technology that could remotely shutdown a vehicle’s radio, air conditioning, or even engine if a driver misses a car payment.

Specifically, according to Ford’s patent application, for repossession-linked technology, cruise control and automated windows could be disabled if a consumer doesn’t acknowledge a notice of an overdue car payment. Ford could also shut down key fobs and door locks  in response to missed payments.

“Disabling such components may cause an additional level of discomfort to a driver and occupants of the vehicle,” the patent application states.

While Ford has further stated that it has no current plans to use the technology described, the patent presents potential concern for drivers since loan delinquencies have been steadily increasing since the pandemic.

Notably, recent Cox Automotive data shows that severely delinquent auto loans in January 2020 were at their highest point since 2006.

Wes Sherwood–a spokesperson for the automaker–said in an email that Ford has “no plans to deploy this” and that the automaker was granted more than 1,300 patents in 2022 as part of “encouraging a culture of innovation.”

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