Chopping off the back half of a New Beetle body has some implications for a few functions in the rear of the car.

Dash indicators

The New Beetle Turbo S dash displays an array of 20 different warning indicators.

1 cruise control on
2 oil pressure low
3 battery/low voltage
4 traction control
5 left turn signal
6 powertrain control
7 high beams on
8 ignition key missing
9 right turn signal
10 parking brake on
11 coolant temp high
12 anti-lock brake fault
13 fasten safety belts
14 rear fogs (EU only)
15 rear hatch unlocked
16 brake pads worn
17 low fuel level
18 rear spoiler up
19 airbag fault
20 engine malfunction

Two dash indicators — numbers 15 and 18 above — involve rear functions that will be eliminated in the Ute conversion. The indicator for rear fog lamps (14) used only European-style rear light configurations is disabled in U.S. market Beetles.

Driver door controls

The left door controls locking, mirror adjustment, power windows, and release buttons for the fuel door located on the right rear fender and the rear hatch lock. The luggage compartment light switch is co-located with the hatch lock/unlock switch.

The fuel door assembly will be reused and thus no modification to this release button is necessary. However, since there will no longer be any rear hatch, this button can be redeployed to control some other function. The button has a momentary design optimized for a lock/unlock actuator so a tailgate locking function might work well.


The Turbo S features a spoiler that opens above the top of the rear hatch window when vehicle speed exceeds 45mph.

A manual switch located under the dash by the steering column can open or close the spoiler if speed is below 45mph. When activated, a warning indicator appears on the dash (18 above).

The spoiler switch has two parts: a up function that activates a open single motion, and a down function that closes the spoiler. This switch might be re-purposed for a truck bed cargo camera.

Interior switches

Turbo S light switch

Front fog and headlight are controlled by a rotary switch on the left side of dash. Despite the labels, the switch only moves between two positions; when in the headlight position, pulling out the switch handle turns on the fog lights.

Two electrical circuits, one for interior D pillar headliner lights and the other for a trunk light, can be reused for modified illumination or some other purpose. The pillar lights are controlled by pressing an embedded switch on the light lens. The trunk light is illuminatied by a automatic microswitch when the hatchback lid is opened.

A rear hatch glass defogger switch is located in the center console and could be used for any on/off functionality.

Likewise, the hatch lock popper switch in the driver door panel is available for a function that requires a momentary switch.


Here is the pre-conversion functionality impacted by the removal of the Beetle’s back end:

  • warning — spoiler up (instrument cluster)
  • warning — hatch unlocked (instrument cluster)
  • switch — hatch release momentary (driver door)
  • switch — luggage compartment light (micro lid contact switch)
  • switch — hatch status motor cutoff (lid contact switch)
  • switch — spoiler manual open/close momentary (under dash)
  • switch — interior D pillar lights on/off (light lens)
  • switch — rear glass defogger on/off, lit when on (center console)
  • lights — D pillar interior
  • lights — luggage compartment
  • discarded function — spoiler motor
  • discarded function — hatch lock/unlock
  • discarded function — rear glass defogger

Possible re-purposing

Functional TypeOld FunctionNew Function
warning light 1manual spoiler deploymenttruck bed lights or cargo cam active
warning light 2hatch unlockedtailgate unlocked
switch 1hatch unlocktailgate lock/unlock
switch 2manual spoiler deploymenteliminated or cargo-backup cam toggle
switch 3rear glass defoggerauxiliary truck bed lights
micro switch 4interior rear headliner lightsautomatic interior wall lights
micro switch 5luggage compartment lighteliminated

Modified reference guide

The two illustrations below summarize Ute conversion modifications to the Quick Reference Guide, part of the New Beetle Owner’s Manual – 2004. Red outlines indicate re-purposed controls; the green outline highlights the 6-speed manual transmission in our 2004 Turbo S model. Post-2006 models have slightly different features.