What are the world’s biggest car brands doing right?


If you throw enough money at something, it will succeed, yes? Well, maybe not always, but brand building does require a significant chunk of marketing budget. The top 100 brands on Interbrand’s latest survey of the world’s biggest company names know this very well.

This is an industry standard that ranks companies from number 1 — Apple Inc. to number 100 — Nintendo. The focus of this article is more specifically on the automotive companies who in the past few years have seen significant gains in their brand value as more and more of the developing world enters the middle-class and the developed world exists low growth.

List based on growth rates through to 2014:

  • Audi: +27%
  • Nissan: 23%
  • Volkswagen: 23%
  • Toyota: 20%
  • Ford: 18%
  • Honda: 17%
  • Hyundai: 16%
  • Kia: 15%
  • Land Rover: –
  • Porsche: 11%
  • Chevrolet: 10%
  • Mercedes-Benz: 8%
  • BMW: 7%

What is the Volkswagen Group doing right?

While VW remains a lacklustre brand in the United States, that cannot be said of markets such as South Africa where the VW brand enjoys almost 16% of the automotive market according to the National Automotive Association of South Africa.

The VW Polo and Golf remain the group’s most popular offerings. If you look at Interbrand’s list, VW Group brands had the most decline of any other car company – with the namesake VW, Audi and its Porsche division. Overall, Volkswagen had brand value worth US$30.718-billion, which is lower, but in-line with other German rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Luxury lacks lustre!

Interbrand’s research doesn’t group luxury cars in the same list as brands whose core business is selling luxury items. However, considering that Merc, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Land Rover are at the higher end of the car market, they’re worth stacking up with mainstream luxury brands. With this in mind, the car makers have outperformed their rivals, however, the degree of outperformance within the automotive industry lacks any lustre.

Audi and the new entrant, Land Rover, are the outliers of the group with growths of 27% and possible 100% respectively. Again, this part of the market shows Volkswagen’s impeccable performance with its Audi and Porsche brands ahead of Merc and BMW.

Part of Interbrand’s analysis looks at social signals, these mainly come from Twitter, which is rather strange considering the significance of Facebook’s platform, and the Facebook-owned Instagram, which has been the fastest growing platform for brands in 2014.

The 2014 Best Global Brands list is mostly consumed by industry professionals, but it also serves as an excellent research tool for any consumer during their research process — be it for a car in this case, or any of the entrants in this year’s list.

Tyler Spears


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