The most valuable car brand in the world

The car in front was a Toyota - but not any more. BMW has surged past Toyota in the annual BrandZ top ten automotive brands for 2012.

This research is based on the dollar value and a variety of measures that apparently measure brand value. Hyundai, VW and Audi are also on the up.

The ultimate sales machine

But back to Bayerische Motoren Werke, or BMW. The Bavarian car maker has managed to combine volume sales while still retaining its image as an aspirational brand. Not an easy trick to pull off. Indeed, BMW confirmed its March global 2012 sales broke all records, with group sales increasing 12%.

Globally, BMW reported a rise of 8.78% in 2011 sales also, increasing from 153,312 to 166,780 vehicles; that's against a market which saw an overall sales decline of more than 4%.

Beating BMW?

Certainly in the UK BMW sell considerably more cars than they used to. In terms of the all-important UK fleet market, BMW's sales hit record levels last year with an increase of 10% over 2010 volumes; that's against a rise of just 4% in overall 2011 fleet sales, claims Fleet News.

As far as BrandZ's table goes, Toyota's ranking dipped 10% to $21.78bn; a combination of factors are to blame, a lot of them external, such as the after-effects of the Fukushima nuclear accident plus shipment delays.

Other Japanese makers suffered too, including Honda (down -11%) and Nissan (down -2%). But big rises were enjoyed by VW (up 15%) and Audi (up 23%), both part of the same automotive group.

Korean sunrise

The other upset is Hyundai - the first Korean car brand to enter the automotive top 10, claims BrandZ. Valued at $3.6 billion, "the company has benefited from demand from discerning customers who, faced with a major purchase during difficult financial times, look for quality and style while avoiding the hefty price tag usually associated with more prestige models," says BrandZ.

Data requested from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) by AOL Money reveals the extent of Hyundai's achievement. In 2001 it sold 27,080 cars in the UK. In 2011 it sold 62,900 - a 132% rise. (BMW sold 81,720 cars in the UK in 2001 and 116,642 in 2011, almost a 43% rise.)

Bimmer badge mystery

Lastly, if you ever wondered about the origins of BMW logo, there's two versions of the story. One camp claims the blue-on-white quadrants depict a spinning propeller blade set against a blue sky.

The other? That the logo is based on the colours of the Free State of Bavaria. Even BMW's UK press office was unsure which was the right answer.

If this nugget diminishes your perception of BMW's engineering roots (the brand even turned its hand to making pots and pans to survive after the Second World War), sorry.

Brandz top 10 most valuable car brands

More stories
Read Full Story