LONDON — The Michelin and Bridgestone brands have been deemed the world's most valuable tire brands for a fourth straight year, according to the latest rating by Brand Finance, a London-based business valuation and strategy consultancy.
The two brands are rated nearly equally, with Michelin maintaining a slight — and increasingly narrow — edge over Bridgestone, according to the consultancy's Automotive Industry 2021 ranking.
Michelin's edge over Bridgestone narrowed slightly last year as Brand Finance's valuation of the brand dropped 4.4% to $6.85 billion, while Bridgestone's dropped 3.1% to $6.81 billion.
All of the brands valued by Brand Finance declined in value last year, with Goodyear, Hankook and Pirelli all declining by over 16%.
The London-based firm attributed the drop in value across the board to the reduced travel and lower car sales in 2020, which resulted in fewer units sold and a resultant decline in market equity.
Furthermore, since the economy has been riskier in general over the past year, investor risk has increased, triggering a rise in the cost of capital.
Continental retained the No. 3 ranking despite a slip in value, down 4.7% to $3.18 billion, ahead of Dunlop and Goodyear at fourth and fifth.
Brand Finance cited Group Michelin's and Bridgestone Corp.'s emphasis on sustainability and motorsports heritage for the brands' relative strength compared with competitors.
"Michelin is an elite tire maker with an emphasis on creativity and technology, and you can bet that its 'normal' tires contain some of that racing experience," Alex Haigh, valuation director at Brand Finance, said.
"Bridgestone places greater emphasis on the 'everyday' driver," he added, "so although its tire line isn't especially extensive, Bridgestone obviously understands its customers and what they want from their automobile tires."
The Dunlop brand — which is shared by Goodyear and Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) and used by them exclusively in agreed-upon geographic regions — was valued at $1.84 billion, down 13.6% versus 2020, while the Goodyear brand was valued at $1.73 billion, down 16.8% from 2019.
SRI was listed as No. 9, with a value of $743 million, even though SRI uses the Sumitomo brand on a limited basis, preferring to use Dunlop in its home market and throughout most of Asia and the Falken brand in areas where Goodyear has the rights to the Dunlop brand, including North America and Europe.
Other brands to make the company's top 10 are:
- Pirelli, No. 6, valued at $1.24 billion, down 16.3% from 2019;
- Hankook, No. 7, valued at $1.1 billion, down 16.4%; and
- Yokohama, No. 8, valued at $757 million, down 13.3%; and
- Linglong, No. 10, valued at $703 million, down 7.6%.
As for vehicle brands, Brand Finance put Toyota ahead of Mercedes-Benz for the first time since 2017, following a modest 2% uplift in brand value to $59.5 billion.