The Nissan Sentra doesn't count. It's partly the work of Renault. And Nissans were never as solidly engineered as Toyotas and Hondas.
Toyotas and Hondas haven't really gotten less reliable. Instead, GM, Ford, and others have improved, and so the reference point has changed.
In the past if a car had a few minor problems it still seemed great compared to the average. Today if a car has a radiator rot out in the first eight years it's a POS.
Stories from inside a parts supplier? Think there are no such stories within Japanese suppliers?
You never really want to know how the sausage is being made. The one you know about will always seem worse than the one you don't know about.
With any car you buy today you have a decent chance at having no problems, and some chance of having a number of problems. All that varies is the odds of each outcome, and the differences aren't night and day.
Vehicle reliability, price comparisons, fuel economy