London - Aston Martin may be the coolest car brand but, according to the annual Brand Finance valuation, Ferrari is the most powerful; in fact it’s among the top 10 strongest brands from any industry.
At 92 points, Ferrari is six points ahead of Porsche in second, and way ahead of Volkswagen, which surprised the number crunchers by bouncing back six points from the depths of Dieselgate to rank third.
Brand strength is based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation - and that that result is used to calculate how much of the company’s total income was contributed by the strength of its brand - the ‘brand value’.
OK, that value is skewed by the size of the company - even if Ferrari’s brand strength contributes a bigger percentage of its income than than that of Toyota - which is ninth in the 2017 brand strength ratings - the Japanese giant’s position as the biggest automotive brand (the Volkswagen group sells more cars, but they’re spread over a number of nameplates) puts it way ahead in terms of brand value, which is expressed in dollars.
Brand Finance’s David Haigh credits Ferrari’s improvement in both strength and brand value to its increasing commercialisation.
Former chairman Luca di Montezemolo was convinced that exclusivity was the key to brand power, so he capped Ferrari’s annual production at 7000 cars. That way there were always a lot more Ferrari customers than there were new Ferraris to buy - which did wonders for the values of used Ferraris (ask Chris Evans!) but didn’t actually help the maker all that much, says Haigh.
Since hard-headed Canadian Sergio Marchionne took over, however, the annual production cap has been raised to 9000, merchandising has been invigorated and a new Ferrari theme park is set to open at PortAventura in Spain on 7 April - all of which has boosted brand value by 40 percent to $6.15 billion (R80 billion).
Toyota, by contrast, has a brand value of $46.3 billion (R603 billion), while the value of the Volkswagen brand has recovered 32 percent to $25 billion (R325 billion) despite the ongoing fallout from the September 2015 emissions scandal.