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Toyota most valued car brand, but Tesla worth more

Tech mate: Auto-makers are general falling in brand value as consumers turn to tech companies, although Tesla is outperforming the industry.

BrandZ survey keeps Toyota on top, but Tesla a threat – and soaring on Wall Street


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2 Jul 2020

TOYOTA again holds top spot as the world’s most highly valued car brand based on the latest BrandZ survey, but American EV manufacturer Tesla’s continuing rise on the share market has this week seen it overtake the Japanese auto giant as the world’s most valuable car company.


Tesla shares this week hit a high on Wall Street of $US1135.33 ($A1639.85), valuing Elon Musk’s soaring EV company at $US210.58 billion ($A304.16b). 


Toyota has a market capitalisation of $US171.77 billion ($A248.10b).


The stock surge and new highpoint for Tesla came as the annual BrandZ survey of the Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands was released, placing Toyota in the top position among the auto-makers for 2019 with a brand value calculated at $US29.15 billion ($A42.10b).


This placed it 41st among all global brands – led by Amazon ($US315.50b), Apple ($US309.52b), Google ($US309.00b), Microsoft ($US251.24b), Visa ($US177.92b) and Facebook ($US158.97b) – and marked a three per cent decline on 2018, pushing it down five places on the list. 


Tesla, meanwhile, ranked seventh among the car-makers with a brand value of $US9.41 billion ($A13.60b), with a relatively shallow year-on-year downgrade at only one per cent.


Behind Toyota was Mercedes-Benz with a brand valuation of $US23.35 billion ($A33.73b), placing it 54th overall, followed by BMW in 55th with $US23.32 billion ($33.68b). Both were down nine per cent for the year. 


The other best-performing brands, albeit positioned outside the top 100, were Honda ($US11.75b, -7%), Ford ($US11.21b, -12%) and Nissan ($US10.55b, -8%), while rounding out the top 10 after Tesla were Audi ($US8.56b, -11%), Volkswagen ($US6.70b, +12% as it continues to rebound in the aftermath of the diesel emissions cheating crisis) and new entrant Porsche, valued at $US5.81 billion. 


General Motors did not rate a mention.


The car sector judged by BrandZ has fallen more than other segments over the past 10 years, losing 32 per cent in value as technology companies surge to the top of the list on consumer demand for their products. 


Only the personal care segment had reversed its fortunes during the past decade.


BrandZ authors attributed the decline across the auto segment to traditional car-makers struggling against the trend to newer, more agile manufacturers, particularly with the move towards electric vehicles and mobility alternatives like ride sharing. 


“The challenges facing car brands are compounded by the fragmentation of the category,” BrandZ data analyst Kantar noted in its report.


“There are almost four times the number of brands to consider compared with other categories in the BrandZ Top 100. 


“Salience (coming easily to mind during consideration) and love (emotional connection) of top 10 car brands are below the average of all brands studied globally. 


“And since 58 per cent of consumers have not tried a leading car brand, mental connections are weaker, and equity is harder to sustain. 


“Among people in the market for a mainstream car in the US, Tesla achieved 4.2 per cent share of demand, making the brand number 14 in consumer consideration. 


“In China, the brand gains the same share of demand among luxury car brands, ranking it number nine. In Norway, Tesla ranks number one among those buying electric or hybrid cars with a 16.4 per cent share of demand, ahead of established brands like Toyota, VW and Nissan.”


The news was not all good for Tesla, however, as the company took a big hit in the just-released JD Power Initial Quality Study which placed the EV manufacturer in last position of the 32 brands studied, with 250 problems per 100 vehicles. Dodge and Kia shared top spot with 136 problems.


JD Power tempered the reports from Tesla’s customers by saying the car-maker refused permission for it to survey its owners in the 15 key states – including its primary market of California – used for the data.


But JD Power said: “We were able to collect a large enough sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states and, from that base, we calculated Tesla’s score.”

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