Big Brands Around the Planet
Last week, Interbrand released its 2014 Best Global Brands ranking. Why is this of any interest in the automotive space?
A few reasons, really.
One is that vehicle manufacturers spend a tremendous amount of money to bring people to their brands and, they hope, subsequently their showrooms. Last year, GM, Ford, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler were among the top-10 advertising spenders in the U.S.
Second is that top brands have a higher value in the market. That makes the company more valuable overall. This can make it easier for them to do things like raise money for investments.
Third is that top brands tend to be things that people aspire to being associated with. People want to be associated with the leaders. This can turn into more sales.
Biggest of the global automotive brands
The methodology that Interbrand used to calculate brand valuation included the following metrics:
· The brand has to derive at least 30% of its revenue outside of its home region (remember: this is a global survey)
· It must have “a significant presence” in Asia, Europe and North America and broad coverage in emerging markets
In addition to which, they expected the brands to be economically sound and delivering a return above its cost of capital.
So, how did the vehicle manufacturers do?
There were 14 companies (including Harley-Davidson, which Interbrand categories in “Automotive,” and which is not bad company to keep) in the top 100.
Two made it into the top 10: Toyota at 8 and Mercedes-Benz at 10. The people in Munich must have been annoyed that BMW came in at 11.
Honda made the top 20, at 20.
Then VW shows up in 31st position, just behind Pampers and ahead of Kellogg’s.
Ford is in 39th place, an 18% gain compared to last year. Hyundai is in 40th, having made a 16% improvement.
Audi, in 45th, made a whopping 27% gain. Another big mover is Nissan, in 56th, whose brand fortunes increased by 23%.
Porsche comes in at 60. Kia makes the list at 74. Then it is Chevrolet at 82, bracketed between delivery service company DHL and fashion purveyor Ralph Lauren.
Harley is at 87. Land Rover, new to the list, is at 91.
The Japanese, German and Korean brands are all strong. The performance of U.S.-based companies certainly shows the domestic-centric nature of their brands. One Ford is paying off for that company. As Chevy’s footprint around the globe is being decreased, chances are that it might not even reach 82 next year.
According to Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet truck marketing director, “We engineer and build our trucks with customers’ expectations in mind.”
As Sunday will be the Super Bowl, there will undoubtedly be plenty of automotive commercials before, during and after the game, many of which focus on pickup trucks, because the ad agencies who work for the various OEMs have done deep demographic research that indicates that people who like football like trucks and vice versa. (We’ve always been a fan of the 1998 Nissan Frontier commercial that told us “Dogs like trucks.”) Anyway. . .there is one tough pickup truck that won’t be part of the festival of ads on Sunday because it is for a product that isn’t available in the U.S., the Volkswagen Amarok.
The finalists for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) awards were announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, and because the choices are essentially based on choices predicated on design and engineering (after all, as the jurors drive the vehicles, it isn’t an issue of sales or marketing), the selections of the three finalists in each category can be considered among the best in class when it comes to those two functions.