Keep in mind that much of the VW reputation is do to small stuff. Most reports of repair rates don't really look at what was repaired (new engine vs a coolant sensor ($10.00 plus five minutes labor). I have yet to see a study that factored in the driver. Some drivers are more likely to report a problem that another driver would consider maintenance.
Driver types will tend to differ depending on the car.
Consider looking at the accident rate or the repair rates for big muscle cars, vs. luxury cars.
Looking at the best data I can find, I would suggest that VW does have more problems, but on average a little smaller problems, than most cars, but that is mostly a guess. My degree is in economics and statistics was a big part of my professional life.
I reality only a small number of cars have those kind of problems. So even a very small difference looks bigger than it really is.
Note: I am talking about scale not the fact that there is or is not more of a problem.
My personal opinion is that there is a difference and VW's rates have been higher, but not enough to be a material factor for me. I own a VW.