Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial & Commercial Law


Pamela Foohey

First Page



Automobiles have become part of America’s infrastructure. For most people, having access to a car is crucial to their livelihoods and they will take on significant amounts of debt to purchase vehicles. Auto debt is unlike any other consumer debt, both in its structure, which allows creditors to easily seize collateral, and in its lack of regulation. The unique and lucrative nature of auto debt has not gone unnoticed by lenders or by companies leveraging fintech to offer people new ways to purchase cars and car loans. This Article assesses the evolving marketplace for auto sales, leasing, and loans to evaluate how Americans access cars, including consumer bankruptcy’s place in helping people keep their cars. Based on this assessment, it argues that power imbalances between auto lenders and consumers have widened and likely will continue to widen, to people’s detriment. The Article ends by outlining and evaluating a series of ideas to facilitate needed “car security” for Americans.