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Toyota overtakes BMW as most valuable global car brand
Toyota has overtaken BMW as the most valuable automotive brand, an annual ranking of the world's top brands shows.

The value of the Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Hyundai brands improved by double-digit percentages compared with 2012, largely because of strong demand in China and the United States, according to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study released by market research company Millward Brown on Monday.

Toyota's 2013 brand value rose 12 percent to $24.5 billion largely because of its significant inroads in the hybrid market, according to the study. It ranked No. 23 on the overall list.

"Toyota is carving out a very big position in hybrids across its range, which is tapping into the consumer need for value by saving fuel cost," Peter Walshe, Millward Brown global brand director, told Automotive News. "Its hybrids are reinforcing the experience of the brand, and in so doing, Toyota continues to magnify what is special and different about it."

Honda finished No. 71 on the list with a value of $12.40 billion, down 2 percent.

Nissan came in at No. 86 with a value of $10.19 billion, up 3 percent.

Ford was the only U.S. auto brand to make the report with a value of $7.55 billion, up 8 percent from 2012, but it failed to make the top 100 list.

Volkswagen finished just ahead of Ford at No. 100 on the list. VW's brand value improved 3 percent to $8.79 billion, the report said.

The top 10 auto brands in the report have kept only 71 percent of their pre-recession value, the study noted.

Lack of launches

BMW's brand value dipped by 2 percent to $24 billion, according to the study, because of the German automaker's lack of new product launches compared with past years. It ranked just behind Toyota at No. 24 on the overall list.

"The automotive brands that grew the most were the ones that launched the most models," Walshe said. "BMW remains a very powerful and distinctive brand."

BMW was the most valuable auto brand in the 2010 and 2012 rankings. Toyota held the top spot from 2006 until 2009 and again in 2011.

Among German premium brands, the value of the Mercedes-Benz brand increased 11 percent to $18 billion and the Audi brand saw its value rise 18 percent to $5.5 billion largely because of strong demand in the United States and China for luxury cars, according to the study.

The rise in Chinese millionaires and a wealthier populace has continued to make China a key growth market for top global luxury brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

To maintain their spots in the annual ranking, the top 10 automotive brands need to keep aggressively pushing high-end features down into their mid- and entry-range models, Walshe said.

"Brands must continue to meet the expectations they raised in 2012 for improved quality and luxury features at all price points, helping them to attract younger customers and cultivate a future clientele," Walshe said.

Apple No. 1 overall

The 2013 Top 100 ranking is led by Apple, which has a brand value of $185.1 billion, up from $182.9 billion in 2012. It is the third consecutive year Apple finished No. 1. Google, with a brand value of $113.7 billion, took the No. 2 spot from IBM, which now ranks third and is valued at $112.5 billion.

Millward Brown measures brand equity based on interviews with more than 1 million consumers globally and an analysis of the financial and business performance of each company using data from Bloomberg and Datamonitor.

For the entire report, click here.

World's most valuable car brands in $ billion; rank in top global 100; % value change from 2012
1. Toyota $24.5 -- (23) +12
2. BMW $24.0 -- (24) -2
3. Mercedes $18.0 -- (43) +11
4. Honda $12.4 -- (71) -2
5. Nissan $10.2 -- (86) +3
6. VW $8.8 -- 3 (100) +3
7. Ford $7.6 -- (*) +8
8. Audi $5.5 -- (*) +18
9. Hyundai $4.0 -- (*) +11
10. Lexus $3.5 -- (*) +2
(*) Did not rank in the top 100
Source: Millward Brown
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