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2001 New Beetle 1.8 that I bought used. This is under the steering column, but I have no idea what it is.

 

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Looks like; it might be some sort of aftermarket accessory, possibly a anti theft device/immobilzer chip? Is there any part #'s; markings, and were does it go to... when you follow the wiring harness?
 

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Those were installed by the dealer as an aftermarket ignition disable device. I remember at Lexus they used them. If you wanted to buy the device they would give you the little electronic "key" ....if not they would just disable it. It was more for the dealers protection against vehicle loss then for you.
 
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