Despite losing some ground due to the massive Takata air bag recall, Toyota is still the auto brand to beat in a new study. The company is the number one most valuable auto brand according to the 2015 BrandZ™ Top 100 Global Brands study released Wednesday. The list ranks the top 100 brands of all different types across the globe. Toyota took the first auto spot on the list, coming in at number 30, even though its brand value fell 2 percent to $28.9 billion.
“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.”
Honda was the only other top 10 auto brand to see its value drop besides Toyota. Overall, its brand value fell 5 percent to $13.3 billion. Both Toyota and Honda are among multiple automakers forced to recalls millions of vehicles, mainly in the U.S., fitted with potentially defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata.
BMW takes the second spot. It’s brand value shot up two percent to $26 billion thanks to the i3 and i8.
Here’s a complete list of how the top 10 auto brands shape up (note, the car category includes mass market and luxury cars but does not include trucks):
- #1: Toyota
- #2: BMW
- #3: Mercedes-Benz
- #4: Honda
- #5: Ford
- #6: Nissan
- #7: Audi
- #8: Volkswagen
- #9: Land Rover
- #10: Lexus
Researchers say strong sales in the United States played a major role in rankings this year. While sales in Europe lagged, the U.S. auto industry enjoyed the best sales year since 2006 – 16.5 million vehicles – driven by pent up demand, low interest rates, and cheap gas at the pump as crude oil prices plummeted.
General Motors didn’t fare so well in the brand rankings, however, due to its massive faulty ignition switch scandal linked to more than 100 deaths. It’s sparked congressional hearings and now it looks like criminal prosecution is next. The Wall Street Journal reports that if GM cooperates with prosecutors, it could escape with a lighter fine that would still top $1 billion.
Another interesting note, the study found that the number of dealerships is declining in North America, while increasing in China. In fact, China remains the world’s largest car market. Driven by the popularity of SUVs and vans, passenger car sales increased almost 10 percent to 19.7 million units in 2014, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.