How the tables have turned: Toyota, long the world's largest automaker, has been overtaken by BMW as the automotive sector's most valuable brand. The new ranking comes from a report called BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands by market research group Millward Brown.
To determine brand value, Millward Brand takes into account earnings from branded products, the value of the brand itself, and how much impact the brand has on a company's earnings. The company also interviews over two million consumers in more than 30 countries to help determine their impressions of some 50,000 product brands.
According to the study, BMW's brand value rose ten percent year-over-year to $24.6 billion, while Toyota's brand value sank ten percent to $21.8 billion. That's something of a shake-up: Toyota was ranked as the most valuable brand from 2006 to 2009, and in 2011. BMW temporarily nabbed the top spot in 2010.
Mercedes-Benz followed in third place with an estimated brand value of $16.1 billion, Honda was in fourth place at $12.6 billion, and Nissan came fifth with a brand value of $9.9 billion. In descending order, the final five ranked brands were Volkswagen ($8.5 billion), Ford ($7.0 billion), Audi ($4.7 billion), Hyundai ($3.6 billion), and Lexus ($3.4 billion).
The market research group explained that BMW has succeeded by offering a solid, consistent brand message to customers, and backing it up with continually high-quality products. BMW also has seen great success with sales climbing in Asia, especially China.
As for Toyota, although the brand's reputation has recovered from the opprobrium suffered during the "unintended acceleration" scare two years ago, it struggled last year with low inventories and sales volume after natural disasters in Japan and Thailand hampered production. Millward Brown asserts that Toyota has no problems with its brand overall, but that the company's financials hurt its result this year.
Korean manufacturer Hyundai joined the Millward Brown ranking of the most valuable automotive brands for the first time this year, at ninth place with an estimated brand value of $3.6 billion. That's because the researchers found that Hyundai cars challenged competitors in several segments with strong styling, affordable pricing, and exciting styling. Volkswagen saw its brand value jump 15 percent, while Audi saw its value rise 23 percent; both companies saw increasingly strong sales and brand recognition in China, and VW also strengthened its position in the U.S., thanks to launching the new Jetta and Passat.
Sources: Millward Brown, Automotive News