Home Peanut Sweetie More sweetie Catalog of changes Toys Miscellaneous Microcars Roswell photos Contact
© Howie Lipton 2014
Howie’s New Beetle Website Largest Collection of VW New Beetle Toys in Canada!
Here is where I will keep track of running changes on the New Beetle  Since the introduction of the New Beetle in March 1998, there have been many running changes and improvements to enhance the car. Some improvements are made simply for convenience, some are for safety, and others are just for cosmetic reasons. Check out all the Special Edition New Beetles here! The "new" New Beetle (only being called Beetle) is unveiled April 17, 2011, and the Associated Press interviewed me for the story! This was published all over the world. Just do a search for "associated press new beetle howie", or try this link from Toronto News and local newspaper. Introducing the next generation Beetle...
As of May 2001, this is the only site that has charted the changes. So, check back often, and see what you have on your model, or would like to have had!
Hood Prop. Most of the '98s had the manually-operated hood prop rod. A few towards the end of the first year's production had the air shock, which continued on later model years. It sure made it easier and faster, and more convenient to open the hood. This addition would be a hard retrofit item to the 1998 model.
Various Engine Cover Badging. Starting towards the end of the 2000-year production run, the turbo engine cover badging got a bit fancier with the lettering in the right picture. Also, the cover slides on without the use of bolts to fasten it. The cover in the top right is from the new NB Convertible; the engine on the bottom is the new 2.5L in a Cabrio.
Early New Beetles had just a clock (bottom left). 1999s came with a clock and outside temperature guage (top right), including a snowflake icon to warn of possible icy roads, and a small storage door. New models even have a built-in garage door opener (top left). The sunroof switch takes the place of any storage space if so equipped (bottom right).
Here's the display on a newer convertible.
Power roof switch.
'98 Beetles had this little touch-pad to aim the outside mirrors. Mirror heat was automatic when the rear defrost was on. Also, interior painted trim pieces were flat colours instead of shiny gloss (left). Later cars had a joystick mechanism, and heat was the middle position (people kept forgetting to turn it off, thus burning out the element).
‘98s have a flip-up door to access the vanity mirrors while later ones have a sliding door. Opening the door activates the light. (I personally like the earlier version).
Cupholders were one of the things many owners hated! You could basically only put a can of Coke or small cup of coffee in the tiny holder. The one closest to the front was too close to the console to fit anything in it except for coins or gum wrappers. An optional ashtray could fit there however. Late 2001 models came with a larger holder that also swung away, leaving room for a taller cup, or more New Beetle toys (right).
One of the earlier styles of headrest (left). There are 2 others; this solid headrest from 2003 onwards, and a "donut-style" (picture coming soon).
One of the ways to tell a '98 is by looking at the passenger's side door handle. If it has a lock, it's a '98. All later cars don't have a lock.
Another way to know the year is by looking for side blinkers in the panel under the mirrors. No side blinkers if it's a '98.
This is what the new integrated blinkers look like on the 2003 New Beetle Convertible. (Another animation by Bruce Swank).
VERY early '98s had round tweeters in the A-pillars. Later on they all had triangular tweeters, and then Monsoon sound systems put extra speakers in the dash.
Early cars had different display readouts and an on/off button.
Later models have the emergency flasher switch in a better higher position. An in- dash CD player brings things up to modern times!
"Old" interior from New Beetle.
New and "improved" interior on the 2012 Beetle. I prefer the older version... this looks like the right side is from a Buick!
This is the separate remote on the 1998 models. Later cars came with a "switchblade-style" key/remote.
Cars from 1998 didn't have rear reading lights; later ones did.
New front and rear end treatments arrived in 2006 which consisted of different grillwork, lights, fenders, and a round gas flap cover. Lights are not interchangeable with earlier models.
The newer model also had different door panels, including better window switches, and lockable switch for the rear hatch button.
The new guage included a different (sophisticated?) look on the 2006 models.
Automatics in the new models came with a 6-speed Tiptronic tranny.
Catalog of changes
Even Oprah gave the new model away to her audience.  Note the iconic shape... of the Beetle, that is.