BMW Named World’s Most Valuable Auto Brand

Ford, fresh from debt upgrade, 7th among automakers.

by on May.23, 2012

That BMW "spinner" logo is worth billions.

What’s in a brand name?  If it’s the right one the answer is “plenty.”  According to a new survey by Interbrand, which annually tracks the value of major corporate brands, Apple’s brand is worth $182.9 billion.

Apple leads the list in Interbrand’s 2012 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Study, followed by IBM, at $116 billion, and Google, at $107.9 billion.  But while they lagged at least an order of magnitude behind, a number of major automakers also landed on the list, starting with BMW, with an estimated brand value of $24.6 billion.  BMW was 23rd overall on the BrandZ list.

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“Brands are an insurance policy for businesses,” said Eileen Campbell, Global CEO of brand research company Millward Brown. “Despite a prolonged period of economic stress, political uncertainty and natural disasters that buffeted brands across many categories, the value of the world’s leading brands keeps rising across many categories, sustaining and nurturing businesses.”

The Bavarian maker toppled last year’s automotive leader Toyota, which slipped to second with a value of $21.8 billion.  Another German maker, Mercedes-Benz, was third in the auto column, at $16.1 billion, followed by Honda at $12.7 billion.  Nissan slipped into fifth, at $9.9 billion, Followed by Volkswagen AG, at $8.5 billion.

Ford was, notably, the only Detroit maker to land on the Top 100 list, seventh among automakers with a brand value of $7.5 billion.

It’s unclear if the maker’s latest bit of good news would have helped propel it higher up the list.  Ford on Tuesday received a credit upgrade from Moody’s Ratings service.  That means it was able to fully regain control over its Blue Oval logo, which it mortgaged – along with other trademarks, brand names and factories – in 2006 to secure the $23.5 billion loan that helped it weather the recent recession without a bailout.

The other three makers on the list were Audi, at $4.7 billion; Hyundai, at $3.6 billion, and Lexus, at $3.4 billion.

Significantly, Interbrand reported that almost half of the brands it studied lost value in the 2012 survey, the broadest decline since the depths of the recession.  But financial problems, rather than the brands themselves, were behind most of those slides.


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