It *is* funny how when you're #1 people will line up and try to take you down. GM knows what this feels like. It also helps when internal decisions are made that help support the fall.
I propose that's exactly what happened to General Motors. The accountants took over during unstable economic times, and as a corporation they became very arrogant in regards to customers (let's sell a ton of look-a-like cars at different price points...the customer won't know the difference). Quality went down while their products became less and less distinctive. The customers saw and felt the kick in the face and frankly lined up at Toyota and Honda's door in response.
I am proposing that now that Toyota is #1 + weakening US dollar + less distinctive products + some level of arrogance in regards to customer desire (http://www.tundraheadquarters.com/bl...ra-the-skinny/
) for example + a measurable drop in quality = a perfect storm for problems both realized and perceived.
Will Toyota ever sink to the depths GM/Ford/Chrysler have seen? Highly unlikely. Will the customers flee as quickly as they did from GM/Ford/Chrysler? Highly unlikely. Will there be a noticable shift? I think so, at least short term.