German cars don't seem to get as much flack, or do they?
I think a lot of people are just plain ignorant. The reasons for their ignorance may vary widely, but I personally think that's what it boils down to.
I have to agree with Toyotageek. Perfect case in point. BMWs and Porsches do not have a stigmatism attached to them like Japanese cars do. (well, they might have a douche-bag stigmatism attached to them, but I digress) I think it is moreso the fact that when we started getting Japanese cars over here, there was some sort of perception that they were cheap. Imagine today if Walmart started selling a "cheap" Chinese made car. How many of you would right it off with all the other cheap Chinese junk that Walmart peddles? It's just a perception thing from the older generation. I think it stems from an attitude about "MADE IN JAPAN" that started back in the 70s. Nowadays, the attitude persists, but it's different now, it's "MADE IN CHINA" that we as Americans have an opinion about. I think in general, most folks today recognize Japanese superiority when it comes to Japan made products. I know I do, and I am not just talking about cars.
Furthermore, the German car thing is a good example of genre based bias. I go to Hot August Nights here in Reno every year. Its a big classic car show, and you might, if you are lucky, see an old 356b or something. 99.99% of the cars are American muscle. BMWs and Porsches and what not tend to fall into their own genre, like European luxury or supercar or whatever. The same goes for J-tin. That 62 year old man with the '69 Camaro just isn't into old Japanese stuff, and he probably could care less about a 1975 911 at the same time. Obviously, I am making broad strokes, but you get the idea.