When I worked on various GM brands back in the early 2000's, a consultant came in and gave a presentation that, in hindsight, was amazingly prophetic. He said people increasingly see cars not as cars, but as appliances. They don't want involvement and excitement from a car. They want a blender.
I love cars. I've always owned sporty cars. Until a few years ago when, due to creeping environmental consciousness, I bought a Prius.
And you know what? My Prius was the ultimate appliance. It started. It propelled you to point B. It didn't break. The only difference between it and blender is it didn't make margaritas and it probably had lower emissions.
So the big question is, what happens when the appliance breaks? Especially when that's your whole reason for being?
Toyota is in trouble, because there's no emotional attachment to the brand. You don't love an appliance. You want it to work. And when it doesn't, you move on to the appliance that does.