Toyota remains most valuable car brand worldwide, study says



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Toyota is the world’s most valuable car brand once again, while Ford and General Motors' Chevrolet brand are making strides as U.S. consumer confidence builds, according to research released today by marketing consultant Millward Brown Optimor.

Ford had the largest uptick in brand value with a 56 percent gain -- enough to move it into the Top 5. Chevrolet rejoined the list for the first time since 2009.

The Toyota brand is valued at $29.6 billion, a 21 percent boost from 2013. The brand has finished in the top spot among auto brands in seven of nine years the study has been undertaken.

The annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking was created by Millward Brown Optimor, a unit of Kantar, advertising agency WPP's data investment management unit.

Toyota "is a definitively defined brand that is quality and value,” Peter Walshe, global BrandZ director at Millward Brown, said in an email. “In the U.S.A., it is seen very much as a local brand because of the support and importance of its manufacturing in the U.S.A. It is recovering lost trust after the recalls of 2009/10 (which tended to be blamed on the parent company rather than the individual models).”

BMW, valued at $25.7 billion, Mercedes-Benz, ($21.5 billion), Honda, ($14.1 billion), and Ford, ($11.8 billion), rounded out the top 5 in this year’s “Millward Brown Optimor BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Car Brands” list.

The top 4 were unchanged from 2013.

The BrandZ study uses financial data as well as the views of potential and current buyers to calculate brand value.

Nissan ($11.1 billion), Volkswagen ($8.4 billion), Audi ($7.1 billion), Chevrolet ($4.9 billion) and Hyundai ($4.6 billion), anchored the second half of the rankings.

Of the 10 brands, only Volkswagen failed to gain value in the latest study.

The agency says the Volkswagen brand, with sales trending 10 percent lower through April than the year-earlier period, has faced pricing pressure in China while not seeing the same success in the United States as other brands. In the United States, Volkswagen sales fell to 118,154 through April 2014, down from 131,822 in the year-earlier period, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

“Car brands are thriving in 2014 as the end of recession and US consumer confidence are reflected in a willingness to make big purchases once again,” Walshe said in a statement. “Car makers with a big stake in the U.S. car market have performed best with Ford as the top rising car brand and Chevrolet re-joining the top 10 this year at No 9.”

Audi had the second-largest boost in value -- 27 percent. Toyota’s brand value rose 21 percent, Mercedes-Benz’s increased 20 percent and Hyundai jumped 15 percent from 2013.

Google rose to the top of the overall brand ranking of all brands by boosting its value 40 percent to $158.8 billion, according to the study. Google passed former No. 1 Apple, which suffered a 20 percent decline in brand value to $147.9 billion in the 2014 study.

“Google has knocked Apple from its perch thanks largely to innovation and to investments in Android,” Walshe said. “Apple has slipped after a poor year in launches and innovation. But it is such a strong brand that when it brings out new products it should fire up the brand again.”

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study combines measures of brand equity based on interviews with more than 2 million consumers globally using data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel.

You can reach Vince Bond Jr. at vbond@crain.com. -- Follow Vince on Twitter


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