Boosted by driveability, innovation
BMW remained in second place despite its brand value decreasing 8 percent to $24.6 billion. The decrease was partially due to rising investment costs for new technologies and a sales slowdown in the U.S. Despite the slight dip, the German automaker continued to win over customers in two key areas.
"BMW is really making money from its position as a leader in the luxury niche. It’s doing so because of different reasons. One is its consistency in delivering great driveability and another is with the its innovation," Walshe said. "As the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and when you come to dine on BMW it’s a fabulous taste."
Mercedes' value increased by 4 percent to $23.5 billion, which helped it retain the No. 3 spot. The company's record unit sales, revenue and net profit in 2016 played a big role in boosting its brand value as did a restructuring of its company-owned dealer network.
The total value of the Top 10 car brands dipped to $139.2 billion from $139.9 billion in 2016. A reason for that is automakers are investing billions in to develop solutions to the many challenges they face including new forms of ownership and greater connectivity of their vehicles.
"Automotive brands in the top 10 are worth 6 percent less than they were when we started our study 12 years ago, but those brands have investment 100 to 200 percent more into technology," Walshe said. "The brands that have done best are those that have adapted to their consumers."
He says the industry is at a crossroads. "If you speak to the automakers, they are constantly looking for way to create collaborations to adapt to this new world. This is why BMW and Nissan are working with Microsoft on a connected vehicle platform and Ford and BMW are working with Amazon on cloud-based voice services."
Google stays No. 1
When it comes to the ranking of all brands, Google retained the No. 1 spot. Google's brand value rose 7 percent to $245.6 billion. (Download a PDF of the 2017 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands, above right.)
Apple held on to the No. 2 spot because of a 3 percent rise in brand value to $234.7 billion. Microsoft rounded out the global top three with an 18 percent rise in brand value to $143.2 billion.