Interbrand’s 2020 Best Global Brands (BGB) Report was released today, and the top-ranked automotive brands were Toyota (7) and Mercedes-Benz (8), the only two to land in the top 10, followed closely by BMW in 11th. The BGB Report ranks brands according to their valuation, derived from analysis of three key components: “an analysis of the financial performance of the branded products or services, of the role the brand plays in purchase decisions, and of the brand’s competitive strength.” Basically, it’s a bunch of financial and perception factors, and companies’ valuations rise and fall with their fortunes and popularity in the cultural zeitgeist.
“Leadership, engagement and relevance are three consistent themes we are seeing as brands try to navigate the rapidly changing business landscape.” said Interbrand Global CEO, Charles Trevail. “They are the keys to unlock results in the current crisis, building customer confidence and business resilience. By setting out powerful ambitions and pursuing them with courage and conscience, brands can help us lift our heads, make sense of chaos, and see beyond it, championing a new decade of possibility.”
Many of the biggest technology brands rank the highest on the list, and as social technology companies such as Apple (1), Amazon (2), and Microsoft (3) become increasingly intertwined with automotive brands, they are bound to have similar rankings. This year, to no one’s surprise, digital companies like Amazon, Netflix (41, +41% valuation), PayPal (60, +38%) and Zoom (100, new) saw their brand rankings climb along with their fortunes, while most automotive manufacturers saw a decline.
One automotive brand to buck that trend was Tesla, which didn’t make the top 100 in 2018 and 2019, but shot right up into the top 50 at #40, trailing only Toyota, Mercedes, and BMW, plus Honda (20) and Hyundai (36). The electric car brand thrived in 2020 despite the pandemic, but Interbrand cited its leadership in setting automotive trends and building a cult-like following in internet forums and investment houses: “Tesla’s brand – its flag in the future – has driven demand and advocacy from its inception. Not only that, it has also built enormous liquidity by attracting and retaining a loyal following of retail investors.”
“In July, Tesla overtook Toyota as the world’s most valuable car maker – never mind that it made 370,000 cars against Toyota’s 10 million and a fraction of its revenues. There are industrial drivers behind this performance – most notably, a significant edge in battery technology and software. But these are the results of coherent moves – innovation, launches, adjacencies and, yes, buzz – inspired by a clear direction: a clear purpose translated into subsequent industrial targets,” Interbrand wrote.
Tesla is now worth a staggering US$12.7 billion, and continues to grow as the world moves to adopt electric vehicle technology. That leadership that Trevail mentioned is evident in Tesla, as it paves the way for more electric vehicle technology, and more prevalence on the road. It remains to be seen if Tesla’s production capacity and profitability off its product ever eclipse its current business model.
Other automotive brands to crack the top 100 include Volkswagen (47), Porsche (55), Nissan (59), Ferrari (79), Kia (86), Land Rover (93), and Mini (95).