New survey reveals the annual list of most valuable car brands

The results are in, and Toyota remains the most valuable car brand in 2015. That’s according to The BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study.  BMW, Mercedes, Honda and Ford round out the top five spots in the study conducted by Millward Brown, the world’s second largest market research organization. To determine its rankings, Millward Brown combines measures of brand equity based on interviews with more than two million consumers globally using data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel to determine the top brands of several industries.

Toyota has been number one in eight of the ten years the study has been conducted. However, the brand did decline by two percent according to the 2015 study. The reason? Recalls. Earlier this year, the popular automaker recalled millions of vehicles that were fitted with airbag inflators, supplied by Takata, that can erupt with too much force, spraying shrapnel inside the car. There are some who question how the brand was able to firmly retain its number one position with only a two percent drop despite the recalls. We’d like to offer up a one-worded answer: differentiation.

Now, in the consumer-control era, every auto brand understands that they must bring the highest quality possible with state-of-the-art technology to back it or they will quickly fall behind in the ranks. Comfort, convenience, performance, eco-friendliness and efficiency have, in a sense, become standard features at every price point – making it increasingly difficult for auto brands to differentiate themselves. However, where several other brands have struggled, Toyota has succeeded.

Coming out of the gates, Toyota has stayed a mile ahead of the competition by continuously fostering a brand reputation for quality, reliability, safety and great resale value over decades of time, which has ultimately lead to consumer loyalty. “When you look at the trust the Toyota brand generates from car owners, there is little dent from the airbag issues,” Peter Walshe, Global BrandZ™ director at Millward Brown, told Automotive News Europe. “The customer experience, the good value and the quality that customers trust see the brand through.” So, although it may be difficult now for each brand to differentiate itself with features and technology, Toyota has utilized brand reputation and consumer loyalty to set itself apart as America’s most trusted brand.

Another great example of an auto brand that exceeded expectations in the 2015 study due to differentiation would be Audi. The brand saw a 43 percent increase this year and was noted as the fastest-rising car brand in the study — beating out its parent company, Volkswagen, for the number seven spot on the list of top 10 car brands. “A lot of Audi’s success has much to do with what the brand stands for and what it means to consumers,” Walshe said. “It really stresses in a consistent way and communicates what is different and special about the brand: technology, safety and the benefit to consumers, with good advertising supporting it.”

So now we turn the attention to you and your brand, and we ask this pertinent question: How are you differentiating your dealership from others? In other words, what makes a potential customer want to choose you over the next dealership that’s within a 30-mile radius? If you can swiftly answer this question with confidence and enthusiasm, you are well on your way to being the top-ranked dealership in your area — if you aren’t already. If you are not able to answer this question without pause or falter, then you’re not providing your potential customers with any way to differentiate you from the competition, which can ultimately lead to a decrease in brand awareness, sales and customer retention.

The top 10 most valuable car brands and their estimated worth in $ billions

  1. Toyota $28.9
  2. BMW $26.4
  3. Mercedes $21.8
  4. Honda $13.3
  5. Ford $13.1
  6. Nissan $11.4
  7. Audi $10.1
  8. Volkswagen $9.3
  9. Land Rover $5.0
  10. Lexus $4.3

Source: Millward Brown

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