**UPDATE** AFTER YEARS OF COMPLAINTS, Toyota in late May 2013 finally acknowledged the problem and notified registered owners that these panels would be replaced free of charge with a warranty extension that expired in March, 2014. If you were unfortunate enough to miss this narrow window for factory repair, then this tutorial should help. At least, that's my hope.
Scion tC's are great little cars. Lots of fun to drive and very popular. Unfortunately, they seem to suffer from a common defect. With enough use, the rear hatch release panel will break off due to the flimsy plastic anchor points beneath the panel that get brittle with age and weakened with use. I've seen several tC's around my own town that have had the panels broken. New, color matched replacement panels are available online as of this posting for $108 plus shipping, but of course, you need to be able to disassemble the handle switch, logo, etc. and re-install on the new panel, which is not only throwing money down the tubes, but time consuming and a hassle.
I created this vid as a DIY tutorial if you want to repair it yourself for around $5 and about a half hour to hour of your time. A little more care with future use as described in the vid and the repair should hold indefinitely.
One thing I failed to mention in the vid is to be sure that the release switch wire that goes to the handle grip is tucked out of the way before refastening the panel. You don't want to pinch these wires for obvious reasons.
In order for the simple repair shown in the video to last, you need to retrain yourself on how to open the rear hatch. If you have a spoiler, simply squeeze the handle release with one hand and use the other up under the spoiler to lift the rear hatch. Otherwise, reach underneath the hatch and lift the panel via the lower lip of the panel (as shown in the vid). If you don't open the hatch this way as a habit after the repair, you will probably want to reinforce the repair as shown in this vid with some plastic wire ties, to firmly hold the repaired release panel snug against the hatch panel. It's just extra insurance that your panel will STAY fixed.
DISCLAIMER AND CONCLUSION: The repair as shown in the video lasted about a year, but did not hold up to the elements and eventually failed. A better, and more permanent solution was to remove all the double sided tape, clean all surfaces with alcohol, remove the large inner plastic rear panel cover, and use plastic wire ties to cinch the hatch release panel to the inner metal shell of the hatch lid, after smearing clear silicone adhesive to the left and right sides of the hatch release panel where it comes into contact with the hatch lid itself. In other words, just the contact areas I point out in the vid on the left and right edges of the hatch panel - NOT the strip behind the third taillight. This repair has lasted so well, in fact, that I managed to miss the window to have the factory perform the repair. The wire ties looped through the openings of the anchor points on the panel and back through the sheet metal of the hatch panel, were the key to effecting what is so far, a permanent repair.