Tesla has become the most valuable and fastest-growing auto brand on the planet, according to the Kantar BrandZTM Most Valuable Global Brands 2021 ranking. The study reveals Tesla has surged ahead of its rivals with 275% brand growth and a valuation of $42bn. It also reported full-year profit for the first time.
Key findings for the automotive sector in this year’s study include:
“While Tesla has clearly shown tremendous growth, and Toyota is well-established as a hybrid/EV manufacturer, other established carmakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, are seeing the brand growth benefits of transforming new production and promoting hybrid, electric and other new fuel vehicles,” comments Nathalie Burdet, CMO of Kantar. “Those brands growing their value in this year’s index, have been faster to adapt and have been rewarded as a result. The challenge now is for car brands to embrace their responsibility along the entire cycle of production and use and clearly communicate progress to their customer base.”
Automakers lagging on environmental responsibility
Tesla’s position may be as the poster child for environmental responsibility, the automotive industry is though falling behind compared to other industries. While all brands are trending upwards from 2020 in terms of perceptions of being environmentally responsible, they are still perceived as being behind when compared to other companies ranked in the Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. To catch up with Tesla, brands like Toyota must communicate more emphatically about their environmental credentials and leverage this with a broader point of difference. Our Issues Radar research shows us that the automotive industry’s environmental performance dominates the social conversation around sustainability, telling us there is a willing audience to hear how these brands reshape their industry.
Fresh marketing required to broaden consumer appeal
The results in this year’s ranking show that brands need to meaningfully engage with their audience to drive business. Even Tesla, with the largest stock valuation ahead of Toyota and the most valuable automotive brand in the ranking, has the opportunity to meet the needs of more consumers by becoming more meaningful.
Car brands have traditionally used marketing to position themselves as desirable, contemporary, and adventurous. Failing to communicate open, honest, and fair brand values may inhibit future growth as consumers increasingly align with brands who show their commitment to ethical and social practices.
“This year’s results show that high growth brands have a stronger reputation, especially for sustainable and ethical purposes,” explains Burdet. “For automotive makers, the results suggest that leveraging environmental responsibility with meaningful difference is the winning formula for future growth in this sector.”
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