Toyota still most valuable car brand amid global changes

Toyota still most valuable car brand amid global changes

Toyota, with a brand value of $28.9 billion, is the highest ranked automotive brand in this year’s top 100 in the 2015 BrandZ Top 100 ‘most valuable global brands.

Apple (No.1), which wants to start producing driverless cars, has increased its brand value to US$247 billion, a rise of 67% year-on-year. And Google (No.2), which is also considering building an autonomous car, grew by 9% value increase to reach $173.7 billion.

The highest ranked car brand is Toyota (30), but it is interesting to note that in 2006 Toyota was ranked 10th. Other car brands in the top 100 include BMW (34th), Mercedes Benz (43), Honda (78), Ford (80), and Nissan (93).

On the automotive sector the report notes: “The global financial crisis especially impacted the cars and banks categories. While business ratcheted back up, cars and global banks remain the only two categories that have not recovered in brand value to pre-recession levels.”

More worrying is the fact that ‘Cars’ is the only category that saw negative gains of all 12 categories in the last 10-years, says the report. “The Cars category declined 3%, while on the other side of the scale the biggest rise was in Fast Food which saw a 252% brand value increase,” it adds.

The total brand value of the Top 100 now stands at US$3.3 trillion, a 14% increase on 2014 and a 126% growth over the 10 years since the ranking was first launched.

Brand experience key for dealerships

The report notes that in its 10 years of looking into brands, an increasingly important way to communicate difference has been brand experience. For example, safety and driving comfort technology no longer defined luxury in the car category, because it was installed in cars at all price points. Instead, brand experience defined luxury in cars.

For car retailers seeking to re-purpose a legacy of physical locations, stores became the showroom for tactile interaction with the brand. As Internet access to car information educated consumers and changed how people shop for cars, some car dealerships turned locations into places to experience the brand, sometimes combining the physical and virtual, as in city locations developed by Audi.

More global challenges

Car sales usually lag in times of recovery as they require substantial financial investment. This recovery is even more challenging because in today’s digital world, brands no longer control either the conversation with customers or the path to purchase.

The number of dealerships has declined in Europe and North America and increased in China, where car buyers also shop and purchase online. Online sales hold both the promise of direct connection with the consumer, but also the possibility of disintermediation with an emphasis on price and the loss of critical customer data.

Top 10 car brands value 2015 (% change 2015 vs 2014)

1 Toyota $28.9bn -2%
2 BMW $26.3bn 2%
3 Mercedes-Benz $21.7bn 1%
4 Honda $13.3bn -5%
5 Ford $13.1bn 11%
6 Nissan $11.4bn 3%
7 Audi $10.1bn 43% (biggest riser)
8 Volkswagen $9.2bn 10%
9 Land Rover $4.9bn N/A
10 Lexus $4.3bn N/A

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