Steane Klose | Apr 24, 2009

Word is spreading around the interwebs that Q1 of 2009 has been a 'quarter horribilis' for Toyota. A record breaker in fact, but not in a good way.

Official Toyota figures are yet to be released on that score, but the news is not all doom and gloom. Toyota has recently entered the top 10 of the world’s leading 500 brands, according to a study by international consultancy firm, Brand Finance.

The Global 500 report (compiled by Brand Finance plc) also noted that Toyota retained its status as the world's most valuable automotive brand and the premier Asian brand.

"Despite the global slowdown of vehicle sales, Toyota continued to invest in the design and manufacturing of environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles," the Global 500 report said.

Toyota's ascent to the ‘top 10 of the world’s leading brands’ was on the back of its brand value (the measure of its financial strength), which was calculated at US$22 billion - lifting it from 13th to 10th place in the Global 500.

In addition, Toyota's brand rating was lifted from AA to AAA. The rating is based on a benchmarking study of the strength, risk and future potential of a brand relative to its competitors.

If there is any doubt in your mind that the current state of the world’s major economies is anything but troubled, you’ll be interested to learn that the value of the top 500 global brands fell by 24 percent last year, or a total of US$707 billion.

The second-ranked auto manufacturer (BMW) had a brand value of US$13.7 billion, down more than 20 percent from US$17.2 billion.

The world’s most valuable brand? Well, that would be Walmart, which rose from fourth position to replace Coca-Cola.

The number one Australian brand was Woolworths (ranked 143) followed by Telstra (163), which slipped past the National Australia Bank (256).

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