You know who is really choking on Toyota today? All them damn ass GOP Southern Senators, like Shelby and Sessions and John Cornyn, states with major Toyota plants, who voted AGAINST the US automaker bailout because of parochial self-interests. They WANTED Detroit to fail miserably in order to improve the status of their non-union plants in the South .... the same ones NOW shut down because of Toyota's horrid PR problem.
Ford MIGHT pass GM and Toyota for no. 1, which would be stunning since it did not take the money, did not cut away brand names and did not fire its executive leadership. Yet another reason to buy American and restore some semblance of order in this world.
While the Prius problem seems systematic to hybrids (the delay between energy conversion and the damn brakes working), Toyota did its level best to HIDE that from customers. This is a well-worn plot to many a TV show and movies. It's cheaper to keep silent and settle lawsuits than to replace and fix the problem. The fact that Toyota doesn't know HOW to fix the problem is astonishing, yet KNEW there was a problem for some time.
It's all about Japanese corporate mentality v. U.S. openness society. We want to know when and why things fuck up; Japan doesn't.