Brand Finance logo

Mercedes Keeps Accelerating as World’s Most Valuable Auto Brand

14 March 2019
This article is more than 5 years old.

· Mercedes leads German charge as world’s most valuable auto brand, brand value of US$60.3 billion, up 26%

· Innovation across auto sector spearheaded by Chinese brands, although many brands yet to break into top 10

· Roewe is fastest growing, brand value increasing 137% to US$1.2 billion

· Ferrari remains world’s strongest auto brand with a BSI score of 94.8 out of 100

View the Brand Finance Automotive Industry 2019 report here

Mercedes leading German charge

Mercedes continues to be ranked the top auto brand in the world after its brand value increased 26% to US$60.3 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy.

Over the last year, Mercedes has continued to grow its global footprint and popularity in emerging markets. Its sales in China, for example, have risen by 11.7% to a record 600,000 units for 2018. As well as Mercedes’ esteemed reputation for quality and style, the brand is highly regarded for its innovative approach, having recently launched its electric EQ range.

Germany remains the dominant force in the auto industry boasting strong and trusted brands which all feature in the top 10 of the world’s most valuable auto brands, such as Volkswagen (brand value up 4% to US$41.7 billion); BMW (down 3% to US$40.5 billion), Porsche (up 54% to US$29.3 billion); and Audi (up 31% to US$19.6 billion).

Volkswagen’s portfolio of brands is the most potent in the market and combines a diverse set, including: Skoda, Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen. Skoda and Porsche both feature as brands with the highest brand value increase over the past year, Skoda’s brand value rising by 68% to US$2.7 billion and Porsche by 54% to US$29.3 billion. Porsche has benefited from the rise in popularity of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and China’s growing appetite for high-performance sports cars, which is the second biggest market for luxury cars after the US.

German brands have managed to fend off the challenge from both Japan and China, with quality and reliability prevailing over an industry that is in the process of sweeping diversification.

Alex Haigh, Director, Brand Finance, commented:

“There is no denying the dominance of German auto brands amongst the world’s 10 most valuable this year. The combination of their trusted and long-standing heritage, a commitment to diversification, innovation and after sales-services really sets these German brands apart from the rest.”

Innovation is key

There has arguably never been such variety on offer across the auto sector, encompassing diesel, electric, hybrids and conventional petrol models. The rise of electric vehicles is impacting the shape of the market the most, with Chinese brands benefiting from recent government policy which encourages such production. The Chinese government have announced tax incentives and subsidies for companies manufacturing electric cars and across the country there are initiatives in place to expand the use of non-petrol vehicles. This combination has resulted in around 35% of all electric car sales coming from China.

Despite a renewed commitment to electric cars, there is no representation from Chinese brands in the top 10 of this year’s Brand Finance Auto 100 2019.

Similarly, Tesla (up 31% to US$7.5 billion), the producer of new technology vehicles, which scores highly for innovation, still has ground to make up. There are concerns about Tesla’s ability to achieve production scale, its financial health and around the behaviour of its maverick CEO, Elon Musk. More positively, Tesla has a very loyal customer base and in the electric car space, and a strong brand presence in particular across the US and the Middle East.

Volkswagen has impressed with its range of electric and hybrid vehicles and aims to convert all of its factories in preparation of electric car production by 2022. The brand is planning to produce 100,000 I.D. electric cars in the first year of operation. In contrast, Toyota (up 20% to US$52.3 billion), which has grown on the back of a high margin business, has been criticised for not seizing the electric car revolution early enough.

Roewe advancing fastest

Despite German autos success at the apex of industry, the fastest growing brand is China’s Roewe (SAIC), which increased its brand value by 137% to US$1.2 billion. Roewe has assumed the technology previously belonging to the now-defunct Rover of the UK and developed the world’s first mass-produced internet vehicle, cementing its place in both the electric and hybrid space.

Conversely, a trio of Chinese brands, Changan (down 52% to US$802 million), Haval (down 44% to US$3.8 billion) and BAIC (down 44% to US$881 million) all saw significant falls in their brand value.

Ferrari remains strongest

Aside from calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

Ferrari (brand value up 27% to US$8.3 billion) is the world’s strongest auto brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 94.8 out of 100. This year, Brand Finance named the Italian supercar manufacturer as the world’ strongest brand, a position that it last held in 2014. Since its inception, Ferrari has remained synonymous with style and performance, enabling the brand to successfully extend into other sectors – from merchandise, such as hats and sunglasses, to theme parks, and even the Maranello Village, a Ferrari-themed hotel – without losing its appeal as a luxury brand.


Note to Editors
Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest automotive industry brands. The most valuable automotive industry brands in the world are included in the Brand Finance Automotive Industry 2019 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, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Automotive Industry 2019 report.

Brand Finance helped craft the internationally recognized standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668, and the recently approved standard on Brand Evaluation – ISO 20671.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance league tables 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.

Get in Touch