The annual ranking of top global brands is out, as put together by Interbrand. 14 in the list are automotive brands and little has changed from the last year’s list, but a new marque has made it into the list and some of them have been rapidly reducing gaps with their rivals just ahead of the race. Summing up last year’s trend in the words of Interbrand: “Consumption is changing, too, as quality of life begins to outweigh (in some markets) status and luxury. On the one hand, there’s a desire for the exceptional and the exclusive; on the other, a disdain for excess and waste.”
[The pictures are placed according to rank starting with Ferrari at No. 13 (No. 98 in global all-brands list). The global Interbrand ranking is in brackets. Their brand worth and 2012 global ranking is also mentioned and the growth percentage this year is placed in brackets. e.g. 6% UP]
DriveME Exclusive on Interbrands top automotive brands
“Registering an unmatched 129% growth over last year, I won’t be surprised to see the iPhone maker at the top in the next Interbrand list – iBet!” I had concluded my last year’s report on top global brands.
I did not lose the bet. Apple has usurped the No. 1 spot Coke has been holding on to for 13 years straight, on the Interbrands global chart of brand hierarchy. Google only had to take a couple of short steps to settle in at No. 2.
Read 2012 report
There could be upsets and quakes among the rest of the 100 but the global top automotive brands as a subset have maintained their hierarchy intact even though there have been movements up the rung. Even Honda, what was an anomaly last year has comfortingly moved back into positive growth figures and the value it boasted in 2010 (still almost a billion dollars short of its 2011 performance), proving the very essence of the relevance of the Interbrand selection – resilience should indeed be one of the inevitable qualities that exemplifies a leading global marque.
It’s the same trio on top
Look at the top, for instance. Nothing has changed there. Toyota still leads at No. 10 with Mercedes Benz and BMW following in successive spots. The difference is that their uncannily similar values from last year have now widened the chasm between themselves and the leader. Toyota, valued at around 35.35 billion dollars, has now put almost three and a half billion USD between itself and Mercedes while BMW is still hardly a 100 million behind its German rival. This is despite the defamatory recalls that continued to plague Toyota in the last year. However, the brand, refreshed with its new design lines, has emerged out of that quagmire to lead global sales once again in the automotive category. Again, the point proven here is the larger than life trust that these truly global brands earn, and keep.
Neck to neck in growth and value
The most visible growth as a fraction of last year’s is claimed by both Porsche and Nissan, (26% and 25% respectively), not surprisingly, considering the aggressive and rather sensible product strategies both the brands have followed in the past year. While the Boxster and Caymen were refreshing additions to the Porsche lineup, the Sentra summed up Nissan’s intrusive and innovative product placement in the consumer need-space. Interestingly, both the innovative strategists have even maintained the gap in their order of preeminence, now at 64 and 65, up from the 72 and 73 slots they previously occupied to the advantage of Porsche, which has in fact more than doubled its pace of growth.
Closely following on their heels are Volkswagen and Hyundai with a 20% rise in brand value, and are featured at slots 34 and 43 respectively.
The three German command centers of luxury motoring could be listening hard to the echoes of this ceremonial bugle. While they are positively on a growing streak, the pace has slowed down compared with the previous year, perhaps mostly due to the undue advantage that the luxury segment enjoyed in the recent past of restraint. Still, the leading two are light years ahead of Honda and Volkswagen in terms of brand value, and can remain complacent in their safe havens for a while longer; or can they? As for the latter two from the ‘people’s car’ segment, if the trend continues, they could switch slots by the turn of the next decade, DriveME evaluates.
Nothing demonstrates the subtle nuances of luxury within luxury as the rising tides of Audi and Porsche. While the report shows that Audi downshifted while negotiating the growth curve, sister brand Porsche activated the twin-turbo, fast devouring the distance between them. Despite the obtuse turn to the brand value, Audi had a record-setting year with over one-fourth of its sales happening in avant-garde China.
Ford at No. 42 (up 3 rungs from 2012) has been the beacon of consistency ever since its resurrection, and has registered a fulfilling 15% improvement and earned kudos from those who interpreted the report on the Interbrand website. “If any one brand is going to capture the trifecta of automotive manufacturing – design, performance and economy – it’s Ford. These elements are carried throughout Ford’s product line.”
An Amercian freshman and clinging-on Kia
Recording similar relative growth in value, Kia is still almost half the size of its Korean sibling but managed to take four steps forward on the brand chart to No. 83. Just below where it came in fresh last year, at No. 89 sits the only fresher that gate-crashed the elite 100 party.
Unified under the umbrella vision, ‘Find new roads’, America’s die-hard heartthrob Chevrolet has found inroads to make the top 100 list, with a brand value of 4.58 billion USD. Consistent growth strategy post the downturn in 2008 has seen the brand woo customers with models as varied as the emotional bulwark, Silverado to the intellectually appealing Volt. With a global buyer endorsing a Chevy every 6.5 seconds, the brand lands close enough for the Korean above to feel the aftershocks. After all, Chevrolet does have some Korean steam in the speed it gathered.
To complete the automotive sector, there is a bike brand as well that has logged in its presence at No. 96 and who else could it be if not the legendary Harley?
The Interbrand report is at best an inspiration for the way ahead, insights for brands and reassurance for the patrons of their products. While there haven’t been any significant strides that any one automotive brand has made relative to their counterparts, it’s refreshing to know that the automotive industry machinery is moving at a steady and sure pace, clinging on to their respective positions in a race that signifies staying ahead in time, rather than overtaking competitors. They better be steady and sure. Coz those wheels are what we depend on to get us home, day after day.
Research and report: Sudeep Koshy.
Global worth and ranking according to the Interbrand report 2013 – Access the Top 100 list