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We recently published a blog post on The BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2014 report, which named Toyota as the number one global automotive brand this year with an estimated value of $29.6 billion. In order to claim the top spot, Toyota beat out some other big manufacturers like second place BMW with an estimated brand value of $25.7 billion. Rounding out the top five automotive spots were Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Nissan with respective brand values of $21.5 billion, $14.1 billion and $11.1 billion.

The BrandZ study determines brand value by calculating the sum of all earnings that a company is expected to generate, and surveyed 150,000 consumers on attributes important to them. The automotive category includes mass market and luxury cars but excludes trucks; each brand includes all makes and models marketed under the brand name.

Last year, many brands in the auto industry experienced solid growth figures. Toyota continued to hold off other contenders and capture the overall global sales crown for the year. In 2013, Toyota managed to grow its global sales to 9.98 million new cars and trucks, a gain of nearly 3% over 2012’s figure. Last year’s sales figures were good enough for Toyota to beat out GM’s second place total of 9.71 million new car and truck sales and Volkswagen Group’s third place total of 9.7 million new car and truck sales.

Toyota’s reign as the world’s top automobile manufacturer didn’t happen overnight. It has taken decades to build the reputation of having some of the most dependable and highest retaining vehicles on the road. This reputation was put to the test during 2009-2010 when Toyota issued three separate but related recalls of several models because of sudden unintended acceleration.

The first recall, issued in November 2009, dealt with a possible incursion of an out-of-place driver’s side floor mat into the foot pedal which could cause pedal entrapment. The second recall, issued in January 2010, was because of reported instances of mechanical sticking of the accelerator pedal. Shortly after the floor mat and accelerator pedal recalls, Toyota also issued a separate third recall for defective anti-lock brake software in February 2010.

These recalls resulted in the suspension of production and sales of many of Toyota’s most popular models including the Corolla, Camry, Tacoma, Avalon and Matrix, as well as the Lexus ES 350 and IS 250/350. Because of the high profile recalls issued in 2009-2010, Toyota’s reputation was put through the ringer and tarnished. As a result, sales slowed and Toyota lost the title as the world’s largest automaker in 2011; however, the brand managed to recover quickly and once again secure the number one global sales spot in 2012 and 2013.

With the doom and gloom of the recalls in the rearview mirror, Toyota has been able to focus on what made them and continues to make the one of the best brands in the industry: vehicle dependability and initial quality. In J.D. Power’s 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study Toyota Motor Corporation vehicles took first place in seven of the 22 segments analyzed. J.D Power’s study measures the problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of three-year-old vehicles (2011 model year), including 202 different problem symptoms across all areas of the vehicles.

The most dependable new vehicles also make some of the best used vehicles, which help keep used value retention high. In the February and March editions of NADA Perspective, we examined overall used value retention across 18 different car and truck segments, of which 23 different Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles found themselves in the top five spots in each segment, the most of any other manufacturer. Retention figures for these reports were calculated by using the most prevalent level of three-year-old cars, light duty trucks and SUVs (2011 model year), with results ranked in descending order within a given segment.

Even though Toyota Motor Corporation when through a rough patch in 2009-2010 its long-held reputation for quality and dependability allowed it to recover quickly and reassume its leadership position in terms of sales and brand value in the industry.