Hitchhike your way down memory lane with Rick Newman's list of the cars that drove Detroit's customers away. The comments are also worth reading.
My own unscientific experience with car ownership shows both the Japanese and the Americans can make good and bad cars. The Germans and the Swedes had the best overall record.
VW Beetle: Great car.
Datsun 610: Not good; grossly underpowered.
Buick Regal: Functional but not Detroit at its finest.
VW Beetle: Rolled by the prior owner but it was reliable.
Ford Escort: Very good and fun to drive.
Datsun 300ZX: Why did I sell it?
Ford Explorer: Quite good.
Volvo station wagon: Great car, driven into the ground.
Ancient Volvo sedan: Great and pushing 200,000 miles.
Toyota Camry: Possibly the best car ever.
Honda Element: A fun car although it has its quirks.
Mercury Grand Marquis: All geezer jokes aside, a very good car.