Consumers rate BMW

What's the most valuable car brand?  It's BMW, according to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study released by market research company Millward Brown today. The German marque displaced Toyota from the top spot this year.

Other German automakers -- Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Audi -- also improved their brand value.

What goes into brand value? According to Peter Walshe, Millward Brown global brand director, in BMW's case the automaker has been able to effectively communicate what sets it apart from other carmakers, while backing up its message with a "very decent product."

"As one of the great brands in the world, BMW has been absolutely consistent in the long-term regarding what is meaningfully different about their brand, in highly competitive market places," Walshe said.

Maybe so, but a ConsumerAffairs sentiment analysis of about 4.3 million postings to social media finds BMW coasting along with a net positive sentiment that seldom exceeded 70% in the last 12 months -- good, but not exactly rousing.


BMW was also the most valuable auto brand in 2010, while Toyota held the top spot from 2006 until 2009 as well as last year.

What do consumers like and dislike about the brand?  In a word, they like the car. Dislikes are relatively few, as this chart shows.


Toyota's troubles

Toyota retained its position as one of the world's best brands, but lost its top place in the ranking in the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters that affected all Japanese carmakers last year, Walshe said.

"Toyota is certainly seen as a good value, very reliable and very trustworthy, which are all tremendous qualities, especially for mid-range buyers," Walshe said. "The problem with Toyota has to do with its financials, not brand, due to the disasters, which were clearly out of its control."

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