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Tesla improves, but Toyota remains most valuable car brand

Kantar's annual study looks at not only market capitalization but also how consumers perceive brands.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla is on the rise.

Tesla may have been crowned the most valuable automaker earlier this year, based on pure market capitalization, but the electric carmaker has a way to go to dethrone a few other automakers on market researcher Kantar's 2020 list of the Top 100 Most Valuable Brands.

The report, released Tuesday, shows Tesla jumped three places to land in fourth place among automakers, with a 22% increase in its value since 2019. The study values Tesla at $11.35 billion, using a formula that includes how consumers perceive the brand -- not just its market capitalization.

Toyota remains in first place ($28.39 billion) with two German luxury brands, Mercedes-Benz ($21.35 billion) and BMW ($20.52 billion), rounding out the top three. What is notable is the fact Tesla is the only brand on the auto list that saw its brand value increase year over year. Every other brand fell in value.

Only Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW made the cut for the full Top 100 list. The only other US automaker aside from Tesla to make the top auto brands list is Ford in fifth place, with a $10.07 billion value. Ford, perhaps stung by unfavorable recent comparisons, was recently at pains to point out that its F-Series pickups make more money than all of Tesla.

Outside of the auto realm, it's no surprise the No. 1 most valuable brand remains Amazon. The technology giant and online retailer is worth $415.8 billion by Kantar's reckoning, a rise of 32% fueled in part by the coronavirus' impact on online shopping.

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