According to new research by leading brand valuation and marketing experts Brand Finance, Toyota remains the World’s most valuable car brand, with a brand value of US$26bn.
Safety concerns forced the recall of millions of cars in 2010 leading to a brand value drop of US$1.2bn in Brand Finance’s 2011 report. Toyota’s woes continued the following year with a further brand value fall of US$1.7bn, as the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disrupted manufacturing across Japan.
However this year has seen an impressive turnaround. Toyota has held onto the number one spot of the BrandFinance® Auto 50 through troubled times and has begun a strong recovery this year. Record sales of 9.8 million (up 23%) and expected net profits of US$8.9 billion have contributed to a 6% brand value increase to US$26 billion while the Toyota brand has been strengthened and is now rated AA+.
David Haigh stated, “Toyota has worked hard to rebuild consumer confidence, restoring its reputation for reliability, whilst introducing stylish new designs and advertising campaigns for models such as the Aygo that appeal to a younger demographic .”
Germans Engineering Success
The combined brand value of German car brands has risen by a staggering 15% to US$89bn. The standout performer is Volkswagen which has increased its brand value by 33% to US$23.7bn in this year’s BrandFinance® Auto 50study. A combination of innovative yet practical designs and major investment in effective advertising is responsible. The VW Golf has just been named as Car of the Year, justifying advertising claims that the model is the benchmark for the sector.
Meanwhile, with the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in full swing, VW has revealed the production version of the XL1. Its super-sleek exterior and unrivalled fuel efficiency (over 300mpg) has seen it receive rave reviews. Brand spend this year is set to hit US$6bn, building on the success of 2012 when VW won more advertising awards than any other brand. As a result, despite an 8% fall in the size of the EU car market, with demand for new cars at its lowest level since 1995, VW was able to sell 9 million cars in Western Europe, up 11% from 2011. VW also increased sales in America by 26%, backed by its widely discussed Superbowl advertising campaign.
German car brands in general had a successful year in the BrandFinance®Auto 50. BMW recorded successful sales in Asia (up 33% in China and 22% in Japan) helping to drive brand value growth of US$2bn. Mercedes-Benz increased its brand value to US$20.3 billion, a 3% increase, whilst Audi boosted its brand value by 20%.
David Haigh, Chief Executive of Brand Finance commented: “German car brands reputation for reliability and engineering prowess at all price points have brought them success in all areas of the industry. Even ‘British’ car brands like Mini and Rolls-Royce now owe their newfound popularity to German expertise!”
Bailout Builds Brand Value
US car brands continue to capitalize on their hard-won bailout. Ford, America’s most valuable car brand at US$19.6bn has grown 12% this year. Chevrolet is the US’s fastest riser however, its brand value has risen 26% to US$6bn. The successful launch of the Chevrolet Cruze has aided this year’s growth. While penetration of European markets has proved challenging, Chevrolet’s record sponsorship of Manchester United for the 2013/14 season will reignite interest in the brand in Europe and worldwide. In contrast, troubled French-owned car manufacturer Peugeot dropped 12% in brand value (US$6.64 billion) over the last 12 months after reporting a 17% fall in European sales.
Ferrari World’s Most Powerful Brand
The results also show that Ferrari is the World’s most powerful brand, not just in the automobile sector, but across all categories and territories worldwide. The AAA+ rated brand’s smaller revenues mean it cannot challenge the German and Japanese giants in absolute brand value terms, however Ferrari’s unrivalled brand strength is based on measures such as brand affection, loyalty and profitability. Ferrari recently announced an increase in trading profits by 12% to €350 million. Like VW, it has featured prominently in Geneva, revealing its successor to the Enzo, the US$ 1million, 227mph LaFerrari.
“Despite a fall in European sales overall, the luxury car segment is booming, demonstrating the power of ultra strong brands like Ferrari in tough economic times” added Mr Haigh.
For the results of the world’s top 500 most valuable brands from all sectors, click here.
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