In the automotive industry, tastes change, and as a result, brand value fluctuates. As new models come and go and partnerships are forged and broken, the perceived value of an automotive brand changes as the public and investment community’s perception changes. For now, BMW has beaten out Toyota on the Brandz Top 100 list as the most valuable global brand in the industry.
The consumer is willing to pay
Ultimately, the auto industry closely ties brand value to whether the consumer is willing to pay for one brand over another. Popularity means sales, which translates to instant value for a brand. In the auto industry, consumer perception is a hugely influential force, so BMW’s position atop the Brandz Top 100 global survey, which is conducted each year by market research firm Millward Brown, is no mere happenstance. Positive word of mouth can assert great influence upon someone’s decision to buy a new car.
German brands on the rise
BMW’s position on the latest Brandz Top 100 survey is an indication that the world not only appreciates German engineering and craftsmanship, but trusts the validity of the brand. It was a return to prominence for the German automaker, which captured the top spot in 2010.
Toyota, last year’s Brandz Top 100 winner, has been a perennial favorite. However, difficulties stemming from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan hurt production; Brandz most recent survey results reflected this trend. Toyota had held the Brandz top spot from 2006 through 2009, as well as in 2011.
BMW was not the only high riser on the Brandz Top 100 list. A host of German automotive brands, including Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Audi all improved their brand value. Expansion in the Asian market – particularly in China – played a significant role in the global brand value rankings.
Millward Brown global brand director Peter Walshe noted that BMW has effectively communicated its uniqueness, all the while driving home product quality.
“As one of the great brands in the world, BMW has been absolutely consistent in the long-term regarding what is meaningfully different about their brand, in highly competitive market places,” Walshe said.
Toyota still matters
Walshe pointed out that Toyota has by no means fallen from grace.
“Toyota is certainly seen as a good value, very reliable and very trustworthy, which are all tremendous qualities, especially for mid-range buyers,” he said. “The problem with Toyota has to do with its financials, not brand, due to the disasters, which were clearly out of its control.”
Toyota wasn’t the only automaker impacted negatively by last’s years natural disasters in Japan. Honda, Nissan and Lexus all slipped a bit in terms of brand value in the most recent Brandz Top 100 survey.
First Korean brand in the top 10
Hyundai made its debut in the top 10 at number nine, marking the first time that a Korean automotive brand has made the elite Brandz group. According to Walshe, Hyundai’s brand value stems from its winning combination of quality and style at a lower price point than other premium automotive brands.
Brandz Top 10 automotive brands
Here is Brandz’ top 10, with value ranked in billions of dollars and the percent of change from the previous year’s survey:
- BMW $24.6 — plus-10
- Toyota $21.8 — minus-10
- Mercedes $16.1 — plus-5
- Honda $12.7 — minus-11
- Nissan $9.9 — minus-2
- VW $8.5 — plus-15
- Ford $7.0 — minus-5
- Audi $4.7 — no change
- Hyundai $3.6 — no change
- Lexus $3.4 — minus-7