WHO At the Regional Office?

So… I posted in this forum about the initial problem, which is (long story short) the steering on my very-well-maintained 2003 Prius locked while I was driving, no accident or injury by huge luck. (I’m @ about 70k miles, steering system is warrantied to 36k.) Dealer said it was a computer problem - communication between the steering column and rack & pinion - $2k parts and labor, work and new part is warrantied for a year, unlimited mileage.

There was a recall on the same part in Priuses just before mine, but the dealer said it didn’t apply. So I’m upset about the cost, yes. But also about the flimsy warranty on such a critical safety system. I mean, given that I’m lucky not to have been hurt or killed the first time (I live in LA, so if I’d been on the freeway or a canyon road, I hate to think), I’d hope they have more confidence in the fix than 12 months.

Anyway. I’ve filed a report with the NTHSA and the BBB. It has been suggested to me that I contact someone at Toyota’s regional office. Does anyone know the title of the person I should be looking for there? I know it was covered once upon a time on Car Talk, but who knows when or where.

Thanks very much!

Check your owners manual. All the contact information is listed there.

And good for you for reporting to NTHSA. I checked with my friend who does real data anlysis for them (he was on their committee that coined the term “road rage”). He said we certainly should report safety items to them, either by WWW or by telephone hot line.

I wish there were so effective a place to report non-safety defects.

i remember this deal from your first post and think you did the right thing by filing a complaint with the nhtsa. filing with the bbb will not hurt but is pretty much a waste of time since it carries so little weight.

ever car maker has the country divided into regions and each region will have 1 or more “field service reps” assigned to handle service related problems, oversee warranty issues, etc.
the one you need to deal with is the particular rep who oversees the dealer who diagnosed the problem.

the reps have a bit of lee-way in regards to approving an out-of-warranty repair and this is referred to as a “good will warranty”.
you might see if you could arrange to meet the rep at the dealer when he makes his next round there. these are generally on a monthly basis.
i’m no toy. expert but see no reason why toyota’s policies and procedures would be any different than other car makers.

keep any dealings with them polite and professional, but express a little dissapointment at this problem occurring at such a young mileage and being so close in nature to the actual recalled ones.
hope some of that helps.