A strong brand can give you cover for a multitude of sins and Toyota certainly has done a lot of things right to earn it's reputation as a leader in quality and efficiency. It's interesting though, that in the 2009 JD Power study, Toyota was not in the top 5 of brands in initial quality behind both Cadillac and Hyundai. And while it boasts the Prius as a leader in fuel-efficiency, the Toyota Sequoia and Camry are no more efficient than a Chevy Tahoe and Malibu.
Toyota's strong brand will help them weather this storm. The question is, how many more hits can their brand take before they are seen as just another car company?