• Independent study identifies Toyota brand as most valuable in the automotive world
  • Toyota beats out BMW and Mercedes-Benz, among others
  • Comeback from "unintended acceleration" controversy has been a rousing success

Toyota is once again the most valuable brand in all of autodom for 2013, according to the annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, squeaking past perennial rival BMW and trouncing both Honda and Nissan.

Bolstered by prominent new product launches like the Toyota Avalon and Toyota RAV4, the Japanese juggernaut increased its brand value by 12% year over year, reaching a dizzying valuation of $24.5 billion.

For perspective, that's nearly $10 billion more than Nike ($15.8 billion), $2bn more than Louis Vuitton ($22.7 billion), and $7 billion more than Starbucks ($17.9 billion), though Toyota has its work cut out if it wants to catch McDonald's ($90.3 billion) or overall leader Apple ($185.1 billion)
BMW, meanwhile, dropped 2% to an even $24 billion, securing second place after knocking Toyota out of first last year.
Toyota's performance is particularly impressive given that the company was beset by very public "unintended acceleration" claims just a few years ago. Unlike Audi, which needed many years to recover from a similar controversy in the 1980s, Toyota addressed the claims forthrightly and effectively, enabling the brand to avoid significant damage and emerge stronger than ever.

Rounding out the top five automotive brands are Mercedes-Benz at $18 billion, Honda at $12.4 billion, and Nissan at $10.2 billion. The sole American representative in the top 10 is Ford, which ranks seventh at a respectable $7.6 billion.

Published by market research firm Millward Brown, the annual BrandZ report uses a methodology that "combines extensive and ongoing consumer research with rigorous financial analysis." You can view the full report, including an in-depth discussion of this methodology, in PDF format at parent company WPP's website: http://www.wpp.com/~/media/Reading-Room/BrandZ/brandz_2013_top_100_report_may13.pdf

What it means to you: Toyota's comeback appears to be complete, and with the all-new 2014 Toyota Corolla right around the corner, the sky's the limit for the Toyota brand.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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