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Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW... world's most valuable car brands

2018-03-07 15:40

Image: Supplied

London - Mercedes-Benz has overtaken Toyota and BMW to claim pole position as the world’s most valuable automobile brand, reports Brand Finance in its annual report.

The German automaker grew 24% year-on-year to $43.9-billion as its car sales increased by 9.9% to 2.3-million vehicles. Slipping to second was Toyota (down 6% to $43.7-billion), ahead of third-placed BMW (up 6% to $41.8-billion). 

Brand Finance also ranks its "strongest brands" and "most valuable portfolio" (check out the full list at the end of this article).

EVs driving brand value

Both Toyota and BMW have made efforts to reshape the traditional internal combustion engine. 

Brand Finance said: "Toyota’s Prius and BMW’s electric i3 and i8 vehicles both have very distinctive styling – a brand strategy that contrasts with the very ordinary-looking Leaf by Nissan (down 22% to $19.4-billion). 

"Porsche (up 54% to $19.1-billion) has successfully launched a new hybrid model, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid focused on both sustainability and high performance, with the future promise of further sports models following on from the Porsche 918 Spyder."

Rise of Tesla

Tesla (up 106% to $5.7-billion) has recorded extremely strong brand value growth in 2017, rising from 30th to 19th place globally. 

Brand Finance said: "Tesla’s brand value has been built upon the premium styling of their distinctive vehicles and a very growth-focused corporate vision which aims to bring a more affordable model to market very soon.

"However, doubts exist whether Tesla has the manufacturing capability in the short-term to satisfy consumer demand in terms of both volume and quality to match the brand expectations that they have created. By contrast, some industry incumbents have built their brands with over a century of experience in delivering on customer expectations."

China in hot pursuit

Outside the top 10, many Chinese automakers are enjoying remarkable brand value growth while focusing on the Chinese domestic mark - now the world’s largest; This includes Haval (up 124% to
US$6.8 billion), Geely (up 62% to $6.0-billion), BYD (up 211% to $3.4-billion), Baojun (up 98% to $1.8-billion), and Foton (up 90% to $1.0-billion).

Earlier in 2018, Geely purchased 9.7% of Daimler, seeking to work on electric cars with the German conglomerate, while the German government said it would keep a monitor on the relationship.

Brand Finance said: "The Chinese brands have succeeded in delivering strong value, but to date, only for the Chinese mass market. Outside China, the brands are largely unknown, and within the Chinese premium and luxury segments, foreign brands such as Mercedes-Benz continue to dominate. 

"Chinese brands are expected to acquire Western brands in order to leverage their brand strength internationally, and to use their Chinese- focused brands to innovate low cost vehicles for their large domestic market."

SUVs prove popular

While automakers are producing new environmentally-friendly models, sales of larger SUVs have generated revenues for many brands, leading to SUVs now representing 34% of all new car sales to almost 28 million units globally. This includes Mercedes-Benz (805,000 SUVs sold globally in 2017 across several models) and Nissan (which sold over 810 000 X-Trails).

The updated Nissan X-Trail has arrived in Mzansi.

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Brand Finance: "The high-end SUV market is booming with a number of new product launches by luxury brands last year, including the Audi Q5 and Alfa Romeo Stelvio. In the near future, premium brands Rolls Royce and Aston Martin are looking to cash in with the increased popularity of SUVs, as they seek to launch the Cullinan and DBX respectively in 2019."

Aston Martin resurgent

Aston Martin’s brand value grew with remarkable speed (up 268% to $3.6-billion) as it took the chequered flag for the fastest-growing brand in the automobile sector. Aston Martin had a very positive year, posting its first profit in a decade. 

Cooperation between brands

Ferrari (up 6% to US$6.5 billion) and Aston Martin have, over the last decade, become independent from their former ownership by huge conglomerates. At the same time, however, increased consolidation and cooperation elsewhere in the automobile industry is demonstrated through the growing Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, and the decision by Chinese automaker Geely to purchase a stake in Daimler.

Brand Finance said: “Both are succeeding – the independence of Ferrari allows it to leverage its unique brand attributes to cement itself as a global icon of the industry, while separately, the big corporations such as Volkswagen Group and BMW Group are able to share technology across their family of brands. Ferrari’s brand image has earned it a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.5 and a corresponding AAA+ rating, making it the strongest brand in the sector."

Most valuable brands: Info by Brand Finance

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