It has been the trend in the past couple decades for cars to have really lame tow ratings, and for trucks to get more and more.
To address the specified VW: A 2008 VW Rabbit, which weighs 1100 pounds more than a 1st gen and has way more than twice as much power, is rated for 1000 pounds if automatic or 2000 pounds if manual...and I would only expect that from a European vehicle, since in Europe, tow ratings for what we call a small car are important. They tow big stuff with little cars there. In the US, drivers aren't trained as well and lawyers are always looking for the next big liability suit, so it's necessary to de-rate cars.
Trucks would be de-rated too but the marketing is worth the risk. Instead, trucks are being designed specifically with towing in mind (like European cars), rather than as an afterthought.
This sig may return, some day.