As Bob said, they were designed for rough cold waters. Compared to the typical US boat, the ventilation is poor, making them less desirable for island cruising. Of course that makes for a snug dry boat in cold waters, it is a tradeoff.
And there were never many imported into US waters. I fell in love with one in the 80's only to find the owner had taken a chain saw to one of the main ribs instead of adding a weep hole through it. Didn't even want to ask, passed.
Then there's the flush-deck design, also not popular in the US. But it allows for the main to come down to the deck, more lower sail area, if you aren't using a spray hood over the hatch.
Their reputation is as solid boats--but the design is defintely more "north seas" than typical US market. AFAIK
the rep is for a solid boat, well designed and well built and if the price is right, and you're either not looking at hot humid climes, or planning to add AC...