Heard of Haval? I didn’t think so. For one thing, it’s only been in business as a separate automotive brand for five years, but according to Brand Finance, which makes its corporate living by knowing such things, Haval already is the world’s 16th most valuable automotive brand, worth more than the likes of Ferrari or Tesla or Kia or Aston Martin.
So why haven’t we heard of Haval? Because it’s part of China’s Great Wall Motors and produces crossover and sport utility vehicles sold primarily in the Asian, Australian, South American and Middle Eastern regions. And it’s do well enough that in the past year it’s corporate value has more than doubled, according to Brand Finance.
According to Brand Finance’s annual rankings, issued as the world’s automakers get ready to display their latest and greatest at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, Mercedes-Benz recently passed Toyota as the world’s most valuable automotive brand, worth $43.9 billion to Toyota’s $43.7.
Others in the top-10 are BMW, Volkswagen, Honda, Nissan, Porsche, Ford, Audi and Chevrolet.
In the past year, Mercedes moved from No. 3 to No. 1 and Honda cracked the top-5. Impressive, but Haval jumped from 29th to 16th.
2 wheels worth more than 4?
Looking through the list of the 100 most valuable “automobile” companies, I was struck by the ratings report that has Polaris Industries ahead of Peugeot or Jeep and has Harley-Davidson ahead of Buick or Bentley or even GMC. Polaris and Harley don’t even make automobiles (well, Polaris does make “neighborhood electric vehicles”); these two Midwestern American companies are mainly known for vehicles with two instead of four wheels.
Tesla, Aston Martin ascendant
Other highlights of the report show:
• Tesla soared from 30th to 19th on the list.
• Brand Finance notes that electric vehicles are driving future brand expectations across the automotive spectrum and points to Mercedes, Toyota, BMW and Tesla as leaders in the technological transition. The Brand Finance news release notes that China’s Geely recently purchased nearly 10 percent of Mercedes’ parent Daimler to take advantage of the Germans’ work in EVs. Automotive News reported this week that Geely’s $22 billion offer last year to buy Fiat Chrysler (more than double what Brand Finance says FCA is worth) was rejected. Brand Finance suggests we should expect additional acquisitions by other Chinese automakers.
• Aston Martin has become the fastest-growing brand; a year ago it was worth less than a $1 billion but now is valued at $3.5 billion.
• Ferrari has become the “strongest auto brand” and is the only one with an AAA+ rating, which is based on both tangible and intangible measurements.
Brand Finance is based in London reports itself to be “the world’s leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy” and has offices in more than 20 countries.