I spent some time today (during work--shh!) talking to my brother in law about VINs (I forget how we got on the subject). As an intro piece to the new car, I'm including the photos that I took in my investigations.
Background: since 1981, cars have been manufactured with a standardized Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). A VIN is sort of like an enhanced serial number that also contains information about the vehicle's options and orgins. Here's the Wikipedia article on the general format of a modern VIN.
Pretty much all vehicles have their VIN visible inside the windshield on the driver's side, like so:
Older VINs are stamped onto a piece of sheet metal which is riveted there. My new car seems to have a sticker there instead. Here's a closer view:
A quick overview: "3" indicates that the car was made in Mexico. "VW" means a Volkswagen passenger car "PW3" are manufacturer specific codes for engine, transmission and restraint system. I haven't specifically decoded these "1C" means its a hard-top New Beetle The digit obscured by green is the check digit "8" means the 2008 model year "M" means the car was built at the Puebla, Mexico VW factory The last six digits are the car's serial number.
Part of our VW discussions was talking about the genuine-ness of a VIN. After all, the VIN is the legal identification of a car; if you could change that, you could retitle a car easily, particularly since the one under the dash board of this car is a sticker that could be replaced relatively easily, I'd think.
Many cars, I think, also have the VIN stamped into the body somewhere that would be hard to alter without leaving traces behind. I see to think that my Honda had it stamped into the main structural body point at the back of the engine compartment. In the New Beetle, it's under the back seat. First, pull the back seat bottom cushion section forward
then flip it up
The VIN is under the insulator blanket at the right side of the seat, as indicated by the green arrow
Looks like the VIN is in a spot that the paint's been masked off, or painted a different color, or something.
And fortunately, it's the same as is on the paperwork. All good.