There’s a reason they call it the “people’s car”—because people absolutely love owning a Volkswagen. It’s why more than 5 million folks around the world bought a new Volkswagen last year—a record, by the way . So exactly why does owning a Volkswagen rock? We can think of a hundred reasons—from the terrific Big Game ads to the literally rocking available Fender® sound system and new partnership with Rolling Stone to the tricked-out rides—but here are our top seven, with additions from our VW fans on Facebook and Twitter.
1. VW Has Its Eye on the Future with Fuel-Efficient Cars
Over the next five years, Volkswagen will spend 62.4 billion Euro—that’s more than $80 billion—to develop some of the most technically advanced cars and SUVs in the industry. Much of that investment—one of the largest in Volkswagen history—is going to focus on developing eco-conscious vehicles with the Think Blue® mantras of efficiency and sustainability in mind, including hybrid, diesel, and electric cars.
But Volkswagen owners are already feeling the love in their wallet: “I love our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI for the savings in fuel costs ,” says owner Lew Wiezorek of Montgomery, Illinois. “My wife and I were spending over $600 a month in gas on her previous vehicle. We spend maybe $170-190 a month now in diesel fuel. The savings alone is almost making our car payment!”
Danny Hurt of Nottingham, United Kingdom, who owns a 2001 VW Polo adds: “The thing I love about owning a VW is how proud it makes you feel inside, and the longer I have my VW the more impressive it gets—even in its 10th year!”
2. VW Goes the Distance
In the 34 years Pasadena, California, resident Albert Klein owned his white 1963 VW Beetle, he’s racked up a staggering 1,613,281 miles. That’s right—1.6 million—the equivalent of driving 238 times around the moon.
Or, as 1986 VW Golf owner Mark Sayampanathan of Hedgesville, West Virginia puts it: “My Volkswagen just refuses to die.”
3. VW Gets Speed
Meet Tristan Herbert. He’s 35, lives in Reston, Virginia, and used to be a pro snowboarder and motorcycle racer—until an accident sidelined him. Now he’s in the driver’s seat, racing cars for Volkswagen. He’s pretty good too; last year in his rookie season, he finished fourth in the Pirelli World Challenge driving his GTI. An admitted VW junkie, he’s on his fifth GTI.
Waltham, Massachusetts resident Scott Lian gets a kick out of regular freeway driving in his 2009 VW Jetta TDI Clean Diesel. “I love my TDI, it has been by far the best car I have ever owned,” Scott says. “I love nothing more than passing a slow-moving hybrid, looking down to see about 40 mpg on my dash , and then pulling away with all that torque .”
Raymond Padora of Sydney, Australia, puts the performance appeal of his 2011 VW Polo simply: “Corners, corners, corners.”
4. VW Infatuation Runs Deep—All Around the Globe
In the 65 years it was built—1938 to 2003—some 21.5 million Volkswagen Beetle Type 1 models were snapped up by owners around the world . That makes it the fourth best-selling car of all time. What’s in third place? The hugely popular Volkswagen Golf, of course, with more than 27 million in sales worldwide since its launch in 1974. That means there are a lot of Volkswagen enthusiasts out there.
One of the best parts of having so many fellow VW fans in the world is the unofficial community that’s formed. Owners often wave and honk at one another as they pass—even if they’re complete strangers. The VW bond is a strong connector.
“The number one thing I love about owning a VW is the little rush of camaraderie every time I exchange a thumbs-up, peace sign, nod or wave with another ‘Dubber’ on the road,” says Mike Howells of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and owner of a 2008 VW GTI.
Dennis Canuto of Charlotte, North Carolina, agrees. “People brag about owning a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, but no other car company has a community like VW,” says the owner of a 1995 VW Corrado and a 2003 VW Passat W8. “Shows like Southern Wörthersee, Waterfest and H2O International are proof!”
“The number one thing I love about owning a VW is the VW owners’ community in Bulgaria, my country,” says Ivo Stankov of Varna and a 1998 VW Polo owner. “Our VW car community is the largest one in Bulgaria. We have weekly meetings in every big city where we help each other and showcase our beloved Volkswagen vehicles.”
5. VW Safety Comes Standard
Volkswagen owners love the way their vehicles make them feel safer behind the wheel.
Raul Benitez of Reynosa, Mexico and owner of a 1968 VW Beetle sedan says the number one reason to own a Volkswagen is: “Because nothing says love and care than driving my VW.”
Thomas Goodwin of Edison, New Jersey says the thing he loves most about driving a Volkswagen is: “Knowing that I am safe!” After a collision totaled his beloved 2010 VW GTI, he bought another Volkswagen, a 1994 VW Golf. “Thank goodness I had been driving a Volkswagen.”
And when it comes to safety, Volkswagen leads the industry in the U.S. with nine models being named 2012 Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety . Call it safety in numbers.
6. VW Owners Are In on the Smile Factor
We heard it from dozens of Volkswagen owners: Driving a VW makes you smile.
“I do not drive a Volkswagen because of all the gadgets that they pack in,” says Nate Saam of Longmont, Colorado, who owns a 2003 Jetta GLS TDI. “I do not drive a Volkswagen because of the outstanding fuel economy  it gets. I drive a Volkswagen because it brings out the 12-year-old in me when I am behind the wheel. There is something to be said about a car that makes you want to smile.”
Nancy MacIntyre of Winter Park, Florida, owns a 2005 New Beetle Convertible and knows all about the kid appeal. “On my way home from work there is a stoplight at the corner where there is a walk-up window to an Italian ice business. I have incited so many ‘Punch Dub’ wars from kids standing in line. It is hilarious,” Nancy says. “I also love my VW because it is super cute. I still get loads of compliments on it and it is seven years old.”
Plus, VW owners love serving as brand ambassadors: “I love it when people get in my Tiguan for the first time and exclaim: ‘This is a Volkswagen?!’” says Bryce Jardon, owner of a 2010 Tiguan, living in Overland Park, Kansas.
7. VW Owners Are Passionate “Lifers”
“Owning a VW is a lifestyle,” says 2007 VW Caddy pick-up owner Stuart Wood of Port Alfred, South Africa.
Konner Bruce has been a VW enthusiast since the day he was born, literally. “My parents drove to the hospital in a 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon,” says Konner, who lives in Poulsbo, Washington. “Since then I’ve owned a 1991 VW Vanagon, a 1992 VW GTI, a 1969 VW Karmann Ghia, a 1980 VW Rabbit Diesel, and currently I drive a taiga green 1978 VW Transporter that I named ‘Paddy’ because I bought it on St. Patrick’s Day last year—and I’m only 20! VW has timeless style. I love the passion that comes with owning a Volkswagen.”
“Owning a VW is like having another family member, not just a form of transportation,” says Katie Giltinan, of Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, who owns a 2002 VW New Beetle 1.8t.
Colin Boyle of Campbell, California, agrees: “I love my 2012 VW Beetle Turbo. I take pride in owning it, washing it and yes, even saying good night to it. It’s family. Volkswagen adds fun to my life. It makes me smile and for that, I say thank you.”
Los Angeles, California resident and 1998 VW Golf K2 owner Jim Cherry sums up the charm of being a Volkswagen owner best: “You can’t pin the appeal of owning a Volkswagen down to one thing, but if I had to, I would say it’s the unique combination of economy , driving fun, timeless design, practicality and solid German engineering.”