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Electric Cars Accelerate but Mercedes Retains Title of Most Valuable Auto Brand

04 March 2020
This article is more than 4 years old.
  • Mercedes most valuable auto brand for 3rd year running, hitting US$65bn mark
  • Land Rover, Bentley, Aston Martin and Jaguar all fall in brand value, marking a bad year for UK car manufacturers
  • Tesla is fastest growing brand in auto industry (up 65%), boosted by new Chinese factory
  • Traditional car brands that are embracing electric vehicles, like Porsche and its Taycan model, doing best in ranking
  • Sweden overtakes Italy as 6th most successful nation in terms of brand value as Volvo embraces electric vehicles
  • Ferrari continues to be strongest brand in Brand Finance Auto 100 ranking (BSI 94.1/100) as it tries to increase exclusivity
  • Michelin is world’s most valuable and strongest tire brand, embracing connected and puncture-proof tires

View the full Brand Finance Auto 100 ranking here

View the full Brand Finance Tires 10 ranking here

Mercedes in pole position again

For the third consecutive year, Mercedes-Benz is the world’s most valuable automobile brand, growing 8% to US$65 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy. The German brand has been investing strongly in R&D in the anticipation of new trends – particularly electric and autonomous vehicles – as well as implementing innovative new business models, including the recently expanded Mercedes Collection subscription service.

According to Brand Finance’s research, its customer service is the best in the business. That, combined with its new and existing model ranges and its excellence in design, is helping keep the brand one step ahead of its main competitor BMW (brand value US$40.5 billion). Unfortunately for BMW, the brand’s witty social media response to the departure of Mercedes’ CEO was not enough to generate growth this year.

Alex Haigh, Director, Brand Finance commented:

“Mercedes-Benz has stayed one step ahead of its competitors because of its commitment to service and model development. Despite his departure, Dieter Zetsche has set the brand up for long-term success.”

Volkswagen beaten by Toyota once more

For the second year running, Toyota’s brand value – helped by stronger growth in Asia – has grown faster than Volkswagen’s, up 11% to US$58.1 billion compared to 8% to US$44.5 billion.

Battle of the SUVs

Jeep’s brand value rose an impressive 62% this year to US$4.1 billion. As the fastest growing brand in the FCA portfolio, it has so far successfully embarked on its plan, unveiled in 2018, to broaden the brand into different segments and expand plug-in hybrid and electric options for the brand’s customers.

Land Rover, however, has not been as successful – falling 16% in brand value to US$7.6 billion – hit by sluggish growth worldwide and in China, where it has invested heavily.

The impact of electrification

The growth of electric vehicles is probably the most important trend in this year’s ranking with electric-only brands recording some of the fastest growth and almost all the major marques launching electric ranges.

Tesla is racing ahead as the fastest-growing brand in the ranking, up an impressive 65% to US$12.4 billion. The electric vehicle innovator has rapidly widened its footprint, with sales now in China, Australia, the UK, and several markets in Eastern Europe. There have, however, been concerns of achieving production targets, but the announcement of a new factory – partly supported by the Chinese government – in Shanghai is set to solve production worries and puts Tesla in a position to capture market share in the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles.

NIO – China’s domestic answer to Tesla – features in the ranking for the first time claiming 64th position, with a brand value of US$1.1 billion, following stellar growth this year. Sales are growing fast, but the brand is struggling with high initial operating and investment costs and it is likely to be some time before it is clear if the brand can meet Tesla’s success.

Even Porsche, the most commercially successful luxury car brand and the fastest growing car brand in the top 5, is becoming electric. It is futureproofing and cementing its strong position with the launch of the Taycan, making the brand the first traditional luxury car manufacturer to launch a fully electric model. Porsche has seen some of the fastest long-term growth of any brand in our ranking, built off sports cars and later SUVs and similar models. It is testament to the brand’s strength and wide appeal that its move to sports electric vehicles is one of the most hotly anticipated new models this year.

Alex Haigh, Director, Brand Finance commented:

“Electric car brands and electric models from existing brands are the most interesting and dynamic part of the industry at the moment. Charging ability, performance and design are all developing at a pace faster than ever before.”

Mixed results in luxury cars

Bentley (down 24% to US$1.7 billion), Maserati (down 44% to US$1.6 billion) and Aston Martin (down 50% to US$1.6 billion) have all fallen in brand value this year. Maserati has seen itself unable to keep up with customer trends and thus has seen continuous drops in sales volume.

Aston Martin’s struggle to meet investor expectations on model production and delivery, and the delay on the roll-out of Bentley’s Continental GT range, weighed down respectively on these brands.

Lamborghini’s brand value this year, however, has increased 12% and it is expected to grow exponentially thanks to the incredible jump in sales experienced by the brand on the Urus model, which accounted for roughly 60% of overall sales volume. The Urus demonstrates that the SUV trend does not look likely to abate soon.

Ferrari has also achieved solid growth, recording a 9% increase in brand value to US$9.1 billion.

Slowing growth in China but Song stands out

Overall, Chinese automobile brands have fallen in brand value by just under US$1 billion caused by slowing growth – something the Coronavirus is sure to exacerbate.

However, 2020 saw strong performances by Song, Changan, Great Wall and Roewe. Song has benefited from the stellar success of its Song Max model, launched in 2017, and its brand value has risen by 63% to US$959 million. Changan and Great Wall – primarily SUV-focussed brands – have continued to grow as their model specialism remains popular. Roewe performs strongly, a result of the brand’s commitment to embracing electric and hybrid models effectively.

Sweden overtakes Italy in total brand value

Sweden has overtaken Italy in terms of the total brand value of its homegrown brands for the first time this year in the ranking. This growth is all generated by two brands, Volvo and Scania, which have seen brand value increases of 20% to US$16.9 billion and 21% to US$2.6 billion respectively. Volvo is fully embracing electric vehicles – launching the Polestar luxury brand this year and shifting to electric across its portfolio – and is starting to reap the rewards.

Ferrari is sector’s strongest as it focuses on exclusivity

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value. According to these criteria Ferrari has retained its position as the world’s strongest automobile brand with a BSI score of 94.1 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA+ elite brand strength rating.

Ferrari announced five new models in 2019, including the SF90 Stradale and Ferrari Roma, both aimed at new market segments. The brand also established a manufacturing agreement with the Giorgio Armani Group to help push Ferrari collections into a more premium space. For years, Ferrari has utilised merchandise to support brand awareness and diversify revenue streams, but it is now taking steps to preserve the exclusivity of the brand, with plans to reduce current licensing agreements by 50% and eliminate 30% of product categories.

Alex Haigh, Director, Brand Finance commented:

“Ferrari is the world’s strongest brand because its brand’s power stretches across its sports fans and across luxury car owners. Pulling back from merchandising is shifting that balance in a bet that brand strength in its core segment is better than widely spread revenue.”

Michelin strongest and most valuable tire brand

Michelin remains the world’s most valuable and strongest tire brand with a brand value of US$7.1 billion and a BSI score of 86.2 out of 100.

Michelin is by far the strongest brand in the tire segment with an advantage of 9 BSI points over the second strongest brand in the industry, Bridgestone (up 1% to US$7.0 billion). Michelin is the thought leader in the industry, its product diversification into puncture-less tires with its Uptis prototype and association with premium events and excellent performance, have helped the brand maintain its strength and status.

Alex Haigh, Director, Brand Finance commented:

“Michelin continues to innovate its products and market them and its brand in consistent and relevant ways. With so much history and appeal to play with, it is not surprising they’re the top in our table again.”

View the full Brand Finance Auto 100 ranking here

View the full Brand Finance Tires 10 ranking here


Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 100 most valuable Auto brands and the 10 most valuable tire brands are included in the Brand Finance Automotive Industry 2020 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Automotive Industry 2020 report.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined 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. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

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 Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings 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, while 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 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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