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Toyota hangs on to world No 1 tag as Mercedes gets in striking distance

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 12 October 2016

TOYOTA has maintained its position as the world’s most valuable automotive brand but Mercedes-Benz is now within striking distance and other major brands are experiencing stronger levels of growth, according to the annual study by US-based consultancy Interbrand.

This year’s 17th annual ‘Best Global Brands’ report covering the top 100 brands worldwide sees Tesla Motors make the list for the first time – it has taken the 100th position, or 15th among the auto-makers, with an estimated brand value of $US4.0 billion (RM16.5 billion) – while Nissan has emerged as the top-growing automotive brand with a 22 per cent increase in brand value over last year (to $US11.1b), which places it in ninth position among the auto brands or 43rd overall.

Toyota’s nine per cent increase in brand value to $US53.6b has deposed IBM for fifth place overall – leaving Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Google and, at the top of the pile, Apple, as the only brands ahead of it – but in the space of just 12 months Mercedes-Benz has leapfrogged BMW for second place in the automotive rankings (and ninth overall) with a $US43.5b brand value, up 18 per cent on the previous year, GoAuto reported.

At $US41.5b, BMW’s brand value has risen 12 per cent to hold third position (11th overall), while Honda, in fourth, is well behind after a four per cent slip in brand value to $US22.1b that sends it outside the top 20 brands overall (to 21st).

The only other automotive brand to experience a drop in brand value this year was Volkswagen, which up until 2014 was on a fast track toward the top end of the table but has now gone backwards with two successive downturns of nine per cent, losing $US2.3b in brand value over 24 months to $US11.4b and in process falling three positions in automotive (to eighth) and nine spots overall (to 40th).

The diesel emissions cheating scandal engulfing Volkswagen worldwide has clearly served against it in the latest study, although fellow VW Group brand Audi has managed to avoid the brand-crunching crisis, according to Interbrand, increasing its brand value 14 per cent to $US11.8b and moves ahead of VW in seventh place among the automotive cohort and 38th overall.

Ford and Hyundai have likewise moved ahead of VW and maintain their edge over Audi for the time being, with the Blue Oval up 12 per cent this year to $US13.0b for fifth position among the autos (33rd overall) and the leading Korean brand up 11 per cent to $US12.5b to be right behind it sixth (35th overall).

That leaves one other automotive brand in the top 50 brands worldwide – Porsche, up 18 per cent this year to $US9.5b in brand value for that 50th position – while four others (apart from Tesla) remain in the coveted list of top 100 brands: Kia at $US6.3b (+12%, 69th position overall), Land Rover at $US5.7b (+11%, 78th), Harley-Davidson at $US5.5b (+1%, 80th) and Mini at $US5.0b (+18%, 88th).

In its report, Interbrand describes automotive as one of the most dominant sectors, with the 15 brands collectively achieving a 9.5 per cent increase in brand value to $US256.6b – 14.3 per cent of the top 100 table.

In noting the double-digit growth returned by Nissan, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, Ford, Kia, BMW, Land Rover and Hyundai, the authors argue that “while these brands are rising, the focus is on sustaining growth as the way the world thinks about cars evolves”.

“One of the most profound shifts we’re seeing is that car companies are moving from a brand selling products to a brand providing services – shifting from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to experience-centric brands,” said Daniel Binns, managing director of Interbrand’s New York and San Francisco offices.

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