Survey Says

These are the 100 most valuable vehicle brands in the world

There are 100 automotive companies that have been ranked according to their value by Brand Finance.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Each year, Brand Finance calculates the values of 5,000 of the world's largest brands. This year's rankings included 100 automotive companies.

Brand Finance calculates brand value as the "net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand inn the open market." The see brand strength as "the efficacy of a brand's performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors."

Not all the companies are your typical car brands. The companies on this list sell trucks, commercial vehicles, scooters, buses, cars, and a host of other vehicles.

Here are the rankings, from worst to first.

No. 100 - Smart 

Smart

Photo courtesy of Smart

No. 99 - New Flyer 

New Flyer bus Golden Gate Bridge

Photo courtesy of New Flyer

No. 98 - Tofas 

Tofas car Ferris wheel

Photo courtesy of Tofas

No. 97 - FAW 

Junpai A50

​Photo courtesy of FAW

No. 96 - Paccar 

Photo courtesy of Paccar

No. 95 - UD Trucks 

Photo courtesy of UD Trucks

No. 94 - Piaggio 

Photo courtesy of Piaggio

No. 93 - WEY 

Photo courtesy of WEY

No. 92 - Lada 

Photo courtesy of Lada

No. 91 - Solkon 

Photo courtesy of Solkon

No. 90 - Yulon

Luxgen S 5 GT 225

Photo courtesy of Yulon

No. 89 - MG

MG 77

Photo courtesy of MG

No. 88 - Mack

Photo courtesy of Mack

No. 87 - Royal Enfield

Photo courtesy of Royal Enfield

No. 86 - BAIC

Photo courtesy of BAIC

No. 85 - KTM

Photo courtesy of KTM

No. 84 - GAC

Photo courtesy of GAC

No. 83 - Vauxhall

Photo courtesy of Vauxhall

No. 82 - TVS

Photo courtesy of TVS

No. 81 - DAF

Photo courtesy of DAF

No. 80 - Chrysler

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

No. 79 - Oshkosh

Photo courtesy of Oshkosh

No. 78 - Ashok Leyland

Photo courtesy of Ashok Leyland

No. 76 - Wuling

Photo courtesy of Wuling

No. 75 - Yutong

Photo courtesy of Yutong

No. 74 - Baojun

Photo courtesy of Baojun

No. 73 - Great Wall

Photo courtesy of Great Wall

No. 72 - Changan

Photo courtesy of Changan

No. 71 - Sinotuk

Photo courtesy of Sinotuk

No. 70 - Kenworth

Photo courtesy of Kenworth

No. 69 - Song

Photo courtesy of Song

No. 68 - Dongfeng

Photo courtesy of Dongfeng

No. 67 - Lincoln

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

No. 66 - Dodge

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

No. 65 - Nio

Photo courtesy of Niro​

No. 64 - Seat

Photo courtesy of Seat

No. 63 - Foton

Photo courtesy of Foton

No. 62 - Acura

Photo courtesy of Acura

No. 61 - Roewe

Photo courtesy of Roewe

No. 60 - Infiniti

​Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

No. 59 - JAC Motors

Photo courtesy of JAC Motors

No. 58 - McLaren

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

No. 57 - Dacia

Photo courtesy of Dacia

No. 56 - Maserati

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

No. 55 - Hero

Photo courtesy of Hero

No. 54 - Iveco

Photo courtesy of Inveco

No. 53 - Lamborghini

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini

No. 52 - Bentley

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

No. 51 - Citroën

Photo courtesy of Citroën

No. 50 - Aston Martin

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

No. 49 - RAM

Photo courtesy of Ram

No. 48 - Bajaj Auto

Photo courtesy of Bajaj Auto

No. 47 - Harley-Davidson

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson

No. 46 - Opel

Photo courtesy of Opel

No. 45 - Rolls-Royce

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

No. 44 - Yamaha

Photo courtesy of Yamaha

No. 43 - Fiat

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

No. 42 - Hino

Photo courtesy of Hino

No. 41 - MAN

Photo courtesy of MAN

No. 40 - Tata Motors

Photo courtesy of Tata Motors

No. 39 - GMC

Photo courtesy of GMC

No. 38 - Diahatsu

Photo courtesy of Diahatsu

No. 37 - Mitsubishi Motors

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

No. 36 - Jaguar

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

No. 35 - Scania

Photo courtesy of Scania

No. 34 - Maruti Suzuki

Photo courtesy of Maruti Suzuki

No. 33 - MINI

Photo courtesy of MINI

No. 32 - Skoda

Photo courtesy of Skoda

No. 31 - Isuzu

Photo courtesy of Isuzu

No. 30 - BYD

Photo courtesy of BYD

No. 29 - Polaris

Photo courtesy of Polaris

No. 28 - Mazda

Photo courtesy of Mazda

No. 27 - Haval

Photo courtesy of Haval

No. 26 - Mahindra

Photo courtesy of Mahindra

No. 25 - Peugeot

Photo courtesy of Peugeot

No. 24 - Jeep

Photo courtesy of Jeep

No. 23 - Cadillac

202

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

No. 22 - Kia

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

No. 21 - Buick

Photo courtesy of Buick

No. 20 - Geely

Photo courtesy of Gell

No. 19 - Suzuki

Photo courtesy of Suzuki

No. 18 - Land Rover

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

No. 17 - Subaru

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

No. 16 - Ferrari

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

No. 15 - Lexus

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

No. 14 - Hyundai

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

No. 13 - Renault

Photo courtesy of Renault

No. 12 -Tesla

Photo courtesy of Tesla

No. 11 - Chevrolet

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

No. 10 - Volvo

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car. USA

No. 9 - Audi

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

No. 8 - Nissan

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

No. 7 - Ford

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

No. 6 - Honda

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

No. 5 - Porsche

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

No. 4 - BMW

Photo courtesy of BMW

No. 3 - Volkswagen

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

No. 2 - Toyota

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

No. 1 - Mercedes-Benz

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

For the third consecutive year, Mercedes-Benz is the world's most valuable automobile brand, growing 8 percent to $65 billion. The German brand has been investing strongly in R&D in the anticipation of new trends – particularly electric and autonomous vehicles – as well as implementing innovative new business models, including the recently expanded Mercedes Collection subscription service.

According to Brand Finance's research, its customer service is the best in the business. That, combined with its new and existing model ranges and its excellence in design, is helping keep the brand one step ahead of its main competitor BMW (brand value $40.5 billion).

"Mercedes-Benz has stayed one step ahead of its competitors because of its commitment to service and model development. Despite his departure, Dieter Zetsche has set the brand up for long-term success," said Alex Haigh, Director, Brand Finance.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

This 1973 Volkswagen Thing has spent a great deal of its life in Wisconsin but is only allowed out when the sun shines.

Photo by Harvey Briggs

In the spring of 1971, Larry Nutson, then a young product planner for Volkswagen of America, walked into the meeting. He wasn't sure what to expect, but he certainly didn't suspect a Thing.

Director of Market and Product planning, Dr. Henry Braner had just returned from a vacation in Acapulco and was enamored with the VW Safaris he saw at the resorts and on the beaches. Dr. Braner was convinced Southern California's surfers and other adventurous individuals, who were drawn to the VW powered, Meyers Manx dune buggies of the era, would see the charm of what is officially called the Type 181, but became known in The States as the VW Thing.

1973 Volkswagen Thing The exterior of the model looks primed for wood paneling.Photo by Harvey Briggs

"I was fairly new at the company and couldn't have picked a better first project," said Nutson.

As part of the homologation team, Nutson was responsible for making sure the soon-to-be imported vehicle met not just the desires of the potential owners, but also the regulatory requirements in place at the time. That meant swapping out the taillights and turn signals with those from the contemporary Beetle, adding windshield wipers, and an approved steering column and steering wheel among other things. Emissions weren't an issue, because the Type 181 would use the currently approved Beetle engine and four-speed manual transmission. But it was pretty clear it wouldn't meet crash worthiness standards for passenger vehicles at the time.

Then someone had the brilliant idea to classify it as a "multi-purpose vehicle" like a Jeep. To do that they had to improve its off-road worthiness, so a 4.125:1 transaxle, 100-mm axles, heavy-duty CV joints, and knobbier tires were added to the mix.

At an approval meeting for the Thing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), regulators expressed doubt about the vehicle's all-terrain capabilities since only the rear wheels were driven. Nutson, together with VW's lawyers by his side, remembers firing back, "Who says an off-road vehicle has to have four-wheel drive?" Without a good answer, NHTSA agreed with VW and the Thing was released to U.S. dealers in August of 1972 as a 1973 model.

1973 Volkswagen Thing Many do a double-take when they see a Thing coming down the road wondering what it is.Photo by Harvey Briggs

Interestingly, the Thing might not have happened at all had NATO completed a project they started about a decade earlier to create a "European Jeep". Pooling their resources, the NATO countries including Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and France were trying to design and build a light-duty patrol vehicle that could be used by various armies throughout the continent. The project stalled in the mid-'60s, so the West German Army turned to Volkswagen to quickly fill the void. In 1968 the 181 was commissioned into service. Eventually VW provided over 50,000 Type 181s to NATO from 1968 – 1983.

The fast-track nature of the project meant the Type 181 was quickly assembled out of parts from a variety of existing Volkswagen vehicles, taking its inspiration from the Kübelwagen (Bucket Car) used by the German military in World War II. The foundation of the Type 181 was the floor pan from a Karmann Ghia convertible with added reinforcement for off-road use. This gave it the interior proportions necessary to hold four people and the strength to support the wide-open top. Early 181s had a rear-swing axel suspension was from from the T1 Type 2 Transporter van, and the manual transmission and iconic air-cooled, flat-four engine came from the Type 1 Beetle.

It wasn't long before the Type 181 (and it's right-hand drive twin the Type 182) were adapted for civilian use and in 1971 sales began in continental Europe as the Kurierwagen and the Safari in Mexico, where drivers were looking for something a little more rugged than their beloved Beetles. Originally produced in Wolfsburg, VW added capacity in Puebla, Mexico to fill demand for the Americas – making the Thing the first vehicle ever imported from Mexico to the United States.

1973 Volkswagen Thing Though small, the car is spacious.Photo by Harvey Briggs

The Thing was as basic as basic gets. It was only available in three colors, Blizzard White, Sunshine Yellow, and Pumpkin Orange. It featured bolt-on fenders, doors that were interchangeable from front to rear, side curtains instead of windows, and a soft top designed to keep the rain out. Smart owners always kept a towel handy to dry up the inevitable leaks.

It didn't really matter, however, because most people saw it as a vehicle to be driven in the sunshine. This ethos was also reflected in the original heating system for the Thing.

Mounted just in front of the driver under the Thing's hood was a gasoline heater produced by Eberspächer. Working independently of the engine, this heater had its own small tank you filled and then fired up when you wanted to warm up the cabin. It mustn't have been a very popular feature, because in 1974 the system was replaced by the fresh-air heater used in the Super Beetle.

The 1974 model year also saw the introduction of a new color, Avocado Green, and the Acapulco Edition, with it's special blue and white paint scheme, striped seats, and a Surrey top. In 1975, its final full year on sale in the United States, you could add air conditioning, a radio and even a winch to your Thing.

1973 Volkswagen Thing The Thing keeps its engine in the back.Photo by Harvey Briggs

Comfort wasn't the Thing's strong suit. Neither was performance. Powered by a 46-horsepower, 1,584 cc engine, and only available with a four-speed manual transmission, 0-60 mph times were better measured by calendar than stopwatch. The top speed of 68 miles per hour meant it was freeway capable, but owners tended to eschew the interstates whenever possible.

Drum brakes at all four wheels provided adequate stopping power. And even though the swing axle had been replaced by Porsche double-jointed rear axles with the independent trailing arm rear suspension from the Beetle, handling wasn't its strong suit either.

So if comfort, performance, and handling were all – let's be generous and say – marginal, what was the point of the Thing? In order to find out, I used the magic of social media to contact several owners and even found a young woman who was brave enough to let me drive her unrestored 1973 Thing for a first-hand demonstration of its charm.

1973 Volkswagen Thing This vintage model wears its 1973 Volkswagen license plate frame with pride.Photo by Harvey Briggs

Jason Fogelson purchased his 1974 Thing in the early 1980s when he was working at Michael's Volkswagen in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Canoga Park, California as a salesman to earn money to pay for college. His love affair with the model began one day when Edd Byrns (Kookie in "77 Sunset Strip") drove onto the lot in a blue and white Acapulco Thing to look for a new car. He had a Siberian husky in the passenger seat and from that moment on Jason knew he had to own one.

A few months later, a customer came in to buy a new car and wanted to trade in his orange Thing. The dealership didn't want it so Fogelson arranged to buy it from him for $2,000. He cleaned it up and thoroughly enjoyed driving it around town for the summer.

But when school started in the fall, he quickly discovered the Thing was a lousy car to serve for his 20-mile commute each way. The heater was terrible, the top leaked, it couldn't keep up with traffic, and it was so loud he couldn't hear the transistor radio he brought with him to listen to the morning news. "I couldn't get rid of it fast enough," Fogelson said, but then followed up, "And if I could find another one today, I'd buy it in a heartbeat."

1973 Volkswagen Thing The Thing rides on 14-inch wheels.Photo by Harvey Briggs

Jeff Zurschmeide, an AutomotiveMap writer and known quirky, old car enthusiast – his current collection includes a classic MINI, a dune buggy, and a 1955 M38A1 Jeep – bought his 1973 Thing in the late 1980s for $1,500 when he was living in Santa Cruz. "The car played a pivotal role in my life," said Zurschmeide, "I took the woman who was to become my wife on our first date in the Thing. I stuck my copy of Endless Summer in the tape deck, pulled off the doors, flipped down the windshield and we cruised through town. She loved it, so I knew the relationship had a chance."

When the Loma Prieta earthquake struck in 1989, Zurschmeide discovered the utility and capability of the Thing. "It's a creditable off-road vehicle. I lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains very close to the epicenter of the quake. You'd drive along and there would be places where streams had changed course through a road or the ground had just sheared away and there was a six-inch step you had to climb up. The Thing just went everywhere."

Like Fogelson, he ended the interview by saying, "If an opportunity came up to get one in good shape for a good price, I would own another thing in a cold second."

Wanting to see and drive a Thing before writing this article, I had arranged to meet Wisconsinite Jennifer Mandich at the parking lot for our local baseball team, on a brisk but clear Wednesday morning.

1973 Volkswagen Thing The interior of the model is rather spartan.Photo by Harvey Briggs

Her 1973 Thing still wears its original and slightly faded orange paint. Her brother bought the car in Arizona and brought it to Wisconsin when he returned home. She'd been eyeing it for a few years while it sat in his garage undriven, and eventually convinced him to sell it to her. She drives the car only on sunny days and rarely puts up the top or takes the side curtains out from where they're stored, under the hood. The car itself is a survivor, with a few scratches, pits in the paint, and dents, but no rust thanks to her care.

The top has been replaced – something that almost all Things have in common – and the engine was rebuilt a few years ago. The interior is spartan, with the metal dashboard and simple seats with no headrest nor any side support. Legroom was adequate for my 6'3" frame, and as I started the car, all my VW memories came rushing back.

I've owned two Beetles, a Karmann Ghia, and a Type 3 Wagon, so everything about the Thing was familiar – the light clutch, the slightly rubbery shift feel, and the unassisted steering. There's a reason so many people of my generation learned to drive stick shifts in VWs, they are simple and forgiving with long clutch travel and an engine that's slow to stall. I took a quick spin around the empty parking lot to get a feel for the Thing and was completely unsurprised by any of its driving characteristics. And yet it was different from any VW I've driven in the way people reacted to it. It's a car that makes people smile, whether they're in the driver's seat, passenger seats, or on the sidewalk watching one trundle past.

1973 Volkswagen Thing This Thing, like so many others, has had its roof replaced.Photo by Harvey Briggs

Like my time behind the wheel, the Thing's availability in America was too short. 1975 saw the introduction of new safety regulations that made it illegal to sell regardless of its classification. In the three years it was on sale in the United States, 25,794 Things were sold. Many are still on the road today and they come up for sale regularly on sites like BringATrailer.com where prices range from a low of $6,300 to a high of $36,250 with most selling between $15,000 and $20,000 over the past three years.

If you're looking for an affordable classic that's loud, slow, uncomfortable and will make you grin from ear to ear every time you get behind the wheel, the VW Thing might just be your thing.

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The Ford Mustang Mach 1 is the most iconic model lines in muscle car history.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor COmpany

The Mustang Mach 1 is making its return for the 2021 model year. The Ford Mustang Mach 1 has a rich history of being a powerful variant of the popular sports car and not costing as much as the Shelby models. Take a look back at the history of the car by scrolling through the photos below from the Ford archives.

Ford Mustang Mach 1: Concept car

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford spent time working on a concept (seen here) for what would eventually become the Mustang Mach 1 as the pony car gained popularity. The company was under direct pressure from Chevrolet and Pontiac to develop a car to compete with the Camaro and Firebird.

Ford Mustang Mach 1: Testing

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford tested the performance-focused concept at their proving grounds in Dearborn as they honed the car's performance traits and body styling. A new 7.0-liter V8 engine, dubbed the Super Cobra Jet, was developed as well, and would become the top-level offering when the Mustang Mach 1 debuted.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Mustang Mach 1 got its start as a performance package for the 1969 model. It debuted in August 1968. The car proved to be so popular that it lead Ford to discontinue its Mustang GT.

Ford made the Mach 1 package only available on fastback body styles of the Mustang. But, instead of calling them fastbacks, Ford referred to the style as a SportsRoof.

Enthusiasts can tell if a Mach 1 is an original model, rather than a restomod by looking for the 63C body style code on the car's door data plate.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For the 1970 model year, Ford changed up the outside of the Mustang to make the Mach 1 a true trim level. It got dual-beam headlights and recessed taillights with a black honeycomb rear panel. The side scoops behind both doors were removed and the car got new bucket seats, deep dish wheel covers, and fresh badging. Ford also further refined the engine lineup.

Mustang Mach 1 Advertising

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1: The First Real Facelift

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For 1971, Ford revised the content of the Mach 1. The list of standard equipment included a fastback roof with a "05" VIN code, honeycomb grille with black sport lamps, "Mach 1" badging, trundled decals, lower body accent paint, white sidewall tires, a dual racing mirror, honeycomb taillight, pop open gas cap, a competition suspension, and an available scooped hood.

1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The 1972 model was the least popular of the 1971-73 models. For the year, Ford droped the pop open gas cap and streamlined the engine offerings even further.

1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford again changed the Mustang Mach 1 for the 1973 model year. All '73s got wide body-side tape stripe from the front of the car to the rear wheel well. "Mustang" script made it way to the fender and the deck lid was revised. A two-tone hood treatment was offered and the engine lineup with further slimmed.

Because of new NHTSA standards, Ford had to redesign the car's front and rear bumpers which included moving lights and emblems.

1974-1978 Ford Mustang Mach 1: Second Generation

Ford downsized the Mustang Mach 1 for the second generation. It kept many design elements for the new generation while modifying them for the Mustang II design. As the years went on, Ford left the model mostly unchanged. Sales of the Mustang Mach 1 dwindled until it was discontinued in 1978.

2003-2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1: A new Mustang for a fresh generation

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford brought back the Mustang Mach 1 for a very limited time for the 2003 and 2004 model years. The car had a lot in common with the Mustang Bullitt and received a large performance gain over the Mustang's base GT model. Under its hood was a 4.6-liter V8 engine that achieved 305 horsepower.

For the 2004 model year, little changed about the model except for some minor aesthetic updates.

Ford has announced that they will revive the Mustang Mach 1 for the 2021 model year.

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