I work at Apple. In Cupertino. In Marketing. So I hope I don't come across as "creepy."
Those are very astute observations, all. I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of brand value parallels between VW and Apple. I would say Audi is even more aligned, but they're the same company anyway, so that's really just splitting hairs. Case in point: I produced these demo videos for Final Cut Pro X, which were a direct partnership and cross-promotion with Audi:
The target demographics are definitely similar, as is the approach to aspirational marketing and branding.
In terms of what you've heard about VW, I think a lot of this is legacy thinking (much like the persisting feeling that Volkswagens have terrible electrical problems and reliability issues)... in my opinion, it's just not true. Sure, there are truly awful dealerships, but I think this is not emblematic of the brand as a whole. The dealer I have been taking my car to is one of the best I have ever been to, even outside of the brand, so that definitely influences my opinion. You can read about my very positive experiences here.
As a consumer, you have plenty of options, so if you hate the service you're receiving at one place, let them know in no uncertain terms (also at the corporate level), and go to another dealership. Same goes for your aunt. Once you're outside of your warranty, you can go to any reputable independent shop -- parts for these cars are certainly easy to come by these days, and you no longer have to rely on the dealership to source them, whether they be plastic interior trim, or intake manifolds. You can even order the parts online and take them to the shop of your choice.
I've owned five Volkswagens. All Golfs. My first car was a MKIII Golf CL back in Germany in the early 90's, and since then I've been hooked. I've owned several different cars in between, most notably a B5 Audi S6 Avant, but I can honestly say that the current MKVI GTI is the hands-down the best car I have ever owned. It's the complete package: spirited, nimble, economical, classy, refined, and understated. And with some additional funds allocated to the right places, it becomes proper quick (while staying economical -- I still get 32mpg average on my daily 100-mile commute, provided I don't get on it. If I do, it's obviously a different story).
So yes, I am very happy, and don't see myself leaving the brand any time soon. If I do, it'll be to buy something ridiculous like an M3 or RS4, but I guarantee you that in the long run, I'll be back. To me, the quality, price-performance relationship, and ownership experience are unsurpassed.