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Market Insight: Toyota on top again for brand value

Fast mover: Toyota may have taken top spot on the Interbrand Most Valuable Brand rankings again, but Audi saw the biggest boost in value for automotive brands.

VW, Audi rising but Toyota tops Most Valuable Brand list for the 11th straight year

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Market Insight logo13 Oct 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

TOYOTA has taken the top spot as the most valuable global automotive brand for the eleventh straight year, again edging out Mercedes-Benz in a study conducted by American-based brand strategy consultant Interbrand.

Of the 14 automotive brands that made the overall top 100, Toyota took the top spot with a value of $US42.3 billion - a 20 per cent increase over last year’s finding of $35.3b.

Once again, Interbrand highlighted Toyota’s dominance in the area of green technology as the key reason for its number one placing, with the car-making giant set to spend $7 billion on environmental technology in the current Japanese fiscal year.

Further to this, Interbrand commented on the success of the Prius petrol-electric hybrid, which has sold 3.2 million units globally as Toyota expands its hybrid line-up to about 25 models.

In the overall ranking of all brands, Toyota landed in eighth spot – two spots higher than last year – behind global brands such as top-ranking Apple with a $118.8 billion value, Google in second spot, Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, GE and Samsung.

Runner up in the automotive category, and again 10th overall, was German luxury car-maker Mercedes-Benz with a brand value of $34.3 billion, which is an eight per cent boost when compared with last year’s $31.9 billion value.

Interbrand said Mercedes’ launch of more youthful product including the A-, CLA- and GLA-Class compact range and its continual roll-out of new product, as well as its commitment to green technology with its BlueTec sub-brand kept its ranking high.

In its assessment of Benz, Interbrand said the “timeless appeal” of the Mercedes-Benz brand was “seductive the world over” and was desired by buyers of all ages.

The last time Benz topped the automotive list was in 2003 when it had a brand value of $21.3 billion, ahead of Toyota’s $20.7b.

Fellow German BMW kept its third placing from last year, however its value rose seven per cent to $34.2b, with Interbrand praising its “focused brand strategy, internal clarity, and external brand consistency” as reasons for its success.

The company’s green technology was, again, highlighted as a reason for its strong brand, with models such as the electric i3 city-car, i8 sportscar and overarching EfficientDynamics fuel-saving and emissions-reducing tech boosting appeal.

Honda held onto fourth place in the automotive category and came in eleventh overall with a 17 per cent jump to a $21.6b, due in part to its return to Formula 1, as well the related interactive promotional campaign that won the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity.

Interbrand did however, suggest the company’s product strategy lagged behind its rivals, saying it wasn’t as “original or as responsive as those of its competitors”.

German automotive giant Volkswagen landed in fifth for the second year running and 31st on the overall rankings, with a substantial 23 per cent climb over last year to a brand value of $13.7b.

Ford marked the first American auto brand on the list at number six (39th overall) and increasing its value by 18 per cent to $10.8b, ahead of South Korean car-maker Hyundai, which crept in just behind the Blue Oval in seventh (40th overall) with a 16 per cent increase to $10.4b.

The biggest boost was for VW Group-owned Audi, which grew its value by 23 per cent to $9.8b.

Landing in the eighth automotive spot, Audi climbed six places in the overall rankings to 45th and received praise from Interbrand for its innovative social marketing campaigns , brand-proud employees and award-winning products.

Nissan and Porsche swapped spots this year, with the Japanese brand in ninth spot and a 23 per cent boost in value to $7.6b, while the German sportscar-maker was tenth (60th overall) with $7.1b value.

Hyundai’s sister brand Kia grew its value by 15 per cent to $5.3b to keep its eleventh placing from 2013, while last year’s newbie, Chevrolet, added another 10 per cent to its value - now $5b.

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson stayed in 13th spot with a 13 per cent boost to $4.7b, due to a strategy that has seen it expand beyond its traditional baby-boomer customer base, and a greater presence on social media.

This year’s only new entry was Indian-owned British SUV-maker Land Rover that landed at 91st on the overall rankings and 14th in automotive, with a $4.4b brand value.

Interbrand puts Land Rover’s performance on this year’s list down to a focus on “design, innovation, technology and quality”, with the company taking home a number of awards for its model range in the past year.

Land Rover bumped Italian supercar-maker Ferrari off the list in 2014, after it rounded out the automotive brands in 98th position with $4.0b value.

With all 14 automotive brands making up a total of $211.9b, and three of the top five risers being car-makers, Interbrand said the sector’s focus on energy-efficient products and integrated technology was having an impact.

German automotive brands dominated with five entries on the rankings, followed by three Japanese, three American, two Korean and one English/Indian brand.

To determine the estimated brand value, Interbrand takes into account how much of an influence it has in the purchase decision, the overall financial performance and how competitive the brand is on a global scale.

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