VW make better cars than American companies.
Umm, JD Powers disagrees:
Anecdotally, everyone I know with VWs have had plenty of annoying problems. Ford & GM, not so many. I am surprised that VW comes in even worse than Chrysler, though.
My theory is that a lot of European manufacturers just don't fully understand just how much Americans drive. In addition to having almost twice as many vehicles per capita than the EU (any statistics that say otherwise are probably excluding light trucks in the US numbers), each of those vehicles gets driven almost twice as many miles in a year. Basically, American drive 3-4 times as much as Europeans.
My other theory is that the fact that their home markets are protected from the Japanese manufacturers has allowed them to rest on their laurels a bit. US manufacturers suffered vs the quality of the Japanese cars for years, but they eventually upped their game.