Just a quick update because it's late after a long day of driving...
NIH wrote back. In spades.
I've now got an arm's length document defining the acceptance criteria and two lengthy forms to fill out. Doesn't get me in, but it doesn't shut me out either.
In other news, I also got a reply email from an oem supplier to VW who says my seats already have heater elements in them and all I need are the wires and the controls... and I have the controls.