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Mercedes-Benz Takes Pole Position as World’s Most Valuable Car Brand

•        Mercedes-Benz overtakes Toyota as world’s most valuable auto brand, following 24% growth to US$43.9 billion, in latest Brand Finance Auto 100 ranking.

•        Tesla jumps from 30th to 19th place as electric vehicles drive expectations.

•        Chinese brands accelerate, taking advantage of large domestic market and M&A activity abroad.

•        Aston Martin roars again as it becomes the world’s fastest-growing auto brand of 2018, up 268% to US$3.6 billion.

•        Ferrari benefits from independent ownership to maintain world’s strongest auto brand status with AAA+ brand rating.

•        Volkswagen Group has world’s most valuable auto brand portfolio at US$75.8 billion.

View the full list of the world’s 100 most valuable auto brands here

Mercedes-Benz has overtaken Toyota and BMW to claim pole position as the world’s most valuable automobile brand, following 24% year-on-year growth to US$43.9 billion, according to the latest Brand Finance report. Mercedes-Benz’s surge in brand value was driven largely by a big rise in forecast revenue as car sales increased by 9.9% to 2.3 million vehicles.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Mercedes-Benz invented the automobile, and is now leading the industry with a brand strategy focused on re-inventing the automobile. Their success has been driven by the introduction of a new generation of vehicles led by their renewed foray into SUVs and smooth evolution of new technologies to move away from traditional internal combustion engines.”

Slipping to second was Toyota (down 6% to US$43.7 billion), just ahead of third-ranked BMW (up 6% to US$41.8 billion). Toyota faces a challenging brand landscape, largely due to a weaker position in China as consumers in that market have shied away from the Japanese manufacturer in favour of more aspirational brands, such as Mercedes-Benz.

Electric vehicles drive future brand expectations

Both Toyota and BMW have made efforts to reshape the traditional internal combustion engine a cornerstone of their respective brands. Toyota’s Prius and BMW’s electric i3 and i8 vehicles have very distinctive styling – a brand strategy that contrasts with the very ordinary-looking Leaf by Nissan (down 22% to US$19.4 billion).

Electric vehicle innovator, Tesla (up 106% to US$5.7 billion), has recorded extremely strong brand value growth over the last year, rising from 30th to 19th place amongst automobile brands globally. Tesla’s brand value has been built upon the premium styling of their distinctive vehicles and a very growth-focused corporate vision which aims to bring a more affordable model to market very soon. However, doubts exist whether Tesla has the manufacturing capability in the short-term to satisfy consumer demand in terms of both volume and quality to match the brand expectations that they have created.

Chinese brands in hot pursuit

Outside the top 10, a number of Chinese brands are enjoying remarkable brand value growth while focusing on the Chinese domestic market, which is now the world’s largest. This includes Haval (up 124% to US$6.8 billion), Geely (up 62% to US$6.0 billion), BYD (up 211% to US$3.4 billion), Baojun (up 98% to US$1.8 billion), and Foton (up 90% to US$1.0 billion). In recent weeks, Geely purchased 9.7% of Daimler, seeking to work on electric cars with the conglomerate, while the German government said it would monitor the relationship.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“The Chinese brands have achieved strong brand value growth thanks to their success in the domestic mass market. Outside China, the brands remain largely unknown, and within the Chinese premium and luxury segments, foreign brands such as Mercedes-Benz continue to dominate. However, Chinese brands are now expected to acquire Western brands in order to leverage their brand strength internationally.”

Aston Martin brand roars as sales soar

Aston Martin’s brand value grew with remarkable speed (up 268% to US$3.6 billion) as it took the chequered flag for the fastest-growing brand in the automobile sector. Aston Martin had a very positive year, with its first profit for a decade, boosted by the Brexit-related devaluation of the British Pound. This allowed the manufacturer to continue to deliver a high-quality product, but at a lower cost to international consumers.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Aston Martin is roaring back into the top ranks of luxury car makers. The brand is famed for offering a high-end product, and respected for the quality they deliver. Exploiting one of the strongest series of planned model launches in the sector, Aston Martin is now a darling for investors and a brand that Britain should be proud of.”

Ferrari maintains world’s strongest auto brand status

Ultra-premium brands such as Ferrari (up 6% to US$6.5 billion) and Aston Martin have become independent from their former ownership by huge conglomerates over the last decade. The independence of Ferrari allows it to leverage its unique brand attributes to cement itself as a global icon of the industry. Ferrari’s brand image has earned it a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.5 and a corresponding AAA+ rating, making it the strongest brand in the sector.

Volkswagen Group has world’s most valuable auto brand portfolio

Increased consolidation and cooperation elsewhere in the automobile industry is demonstrated through the growing Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance and the continued success of the Volkswagen Group. Each conglomeration is successfully leveraging synergies across multiple brands, with Volkswagen Group holding the most valuable auto brand portfolio at US$75.8 billion, and clear plans to sharpen their brand positioning in Europe and China.

View the full Brand Finance Auto & Tyres 2018 report here


Note to Editors

Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands.

The Brand Finance Auto & Tyres 2018 report includes three key league tables:

1.  Brand Finance Auto 100

2.  Brand Finance Auto Components 10

3.  Brand Finance Tyres 10

Brand value is equal to a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand. Brand strength is used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand.

More information about the methodology as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Auto & Tyres 2018 report.

Data compiled for the ranking tables and report is provided for the benefit of the media and is not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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About Brand Finance          

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy, with offices in over 20 countries. Brand Finance bridges the gap between marketing and finance by quantifying the financial value of brands. Drawing on expertise in strategy, branding, market research, visual identity, finance, tax, and intellectual property, Brand Finance helps brand owners and investors make the right decisions to maximise brand and business value.


Definition of Brand

Brand Finance helped to craft the internationally recognised standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668. It defines brand as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand Strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures, relative to its competitors. In order to determine the strength of a brand, we look at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of the brands in its league tables using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Brand revenues are discounted post-tax to a net present value which equals the brand value.

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