Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World
Determining the value of a car brand can be a tricky exercise. There are so many variables to consider that ultimately, the results may differ from one study or another. What we do know is that, at the very least, the cream always rises to the top. The standings may be different depending on who the author of the study is, but it’s pretty much the same automakers making up a majority of the list.
In this exercise, we’re taking a look at the ten most valuable car brands, at least through the eyes of Interbrand, an independent agency that specializes in determining the world’s most valuable brands. Obviously, such a task involves creating a specific set of formulas and calculations using a variety of available information, including a company’s financial forecast and then using it with its own in-house-developed “role of brand” and “brand strength” calculations. If it sounds complicated, it’s because it is, especially in the current automotive climate where buzz words like “electrification,” “ride-sharing,” and “autonomous driving technology” have staked bigger pieces of influence among automakers of all shapes and sizes.
Even then, there are also certain requirements that each automaker has to meet to be eligible to be included in the list. These requirements include having a sales presence on at least three continents and having a third of a company’s revenue coming from its home market. Ultimately, it all boils down to a lot of tech jargon that’s a little above my head. What I can tell you, though, is that the final list that Interbrand came up with is both expected and revealing. A few notable names made it in predictable spots while a few surprise inclusions definitely raised our eyebrows.
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Dashboard of Next-Gen Mercedes G-Class Spied
Interior images of Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming 2019 G-Class have just leaked online thanks to Dutch Autoweek. The photos show a mockup of the dashboard, complete with its massive infotainment screen, swanky air vents, and modern design. Of course, the dash isn’t the only new part of the 2019 G-Class – rather, the entire body-on-frame SUV will be brand new. That’s something that hasn’t happened in several decades.
The more upscale dash matches what we know the new G-Wagen. It will be wider, longer, and have better on-road refinement thanks to an independent front suspension system and adaptive dampers. Basically, Mercedes is taking its high-class Jeep Wrangler and making it much more refined. The G-Wagen will still be insanely capable off-road, though, thanks to a full-time 4WD system and locking differentials front, center, and rear. Those diff lock controls are positioned prominently between the center air vents, suggesting the G-Wagen will still be marketed as a go-anywhere SUV.
Other visible details include controls styled after the S-Class sedan, a bank of toggle switches, and an analog clock. The gauge cluster is also analog, but we’re betting the S-Class’ full digital cockpit will be available. We can’t wait to see the rest of the interior, and thankfully, that likely won’t be long. Rumors suggest Mercedes will debut the 2019 G-Class at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show in January. For more spy shots and speculation, read out speculative review of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class here.
Is The Mercedes-AMG Project One Worth $5.2 Million?
Aston Martin made it known that flipping a reservation slot for the Valkyrie hypercar will come with a lot of consequences. Now it’s Mercedes-AMG’s turn to shed light on its position after a reservations spot for the Project One hypercar has found its way into the market, specifically on German online marketplace Mobile. The price of the slot? A whopping $5.2 million, which would be more than double the $2.4 million price of the actual hypercar.
Given the exclusivity of the AMG Project One - production is limited to just 275 units - it’s easy to see why a slot for the yet-to-be-released hypercar is being put up for sale at that price, especially if someone’s willing to spend that much just to get the 1,500-horsepower walking piece of Formula One technology. Whether it’s right to flip or not is another question entirely though. A lot of people in the business, Aston Martin included, has drawn a perfectly clear line in the sand on where it stands on the issue. According to CEO Andy Palmer, anybody who even thinks about flipping his reservation spot for the Valkyrie in the name of financial gain would automatically lose their slot and be barred from buying future Astons of similar exclusive ilk. For its part, Mercedes-AMG has yet to comment on the Project One reservation slot being put up for sale, but since the dealership in question DI Automobile is located in Munich, Germany, it should only be a matter of time before the German automaker reaches out the dealer, or even updates its policy on the matter. As debatable as the act of car flipping is, a lot of automakers are beginning to take a stand on the practice, and it’s hard to imagine Mercedes-AMG sit on this issue and let it happen without at least making its voice heard.
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2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath
Estate vehicles, or wagons as we like to call them, aren’t supposed to do 211 mph. It’s just one of those things that don’t happen as far as automakers are concerned. But the car tuning world is a different story, and we see a good example of that with Vath’s latest tuning program for the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate.
A lot of us are familiar with Vath’s work in the past, especially when it comes to Mercedes-AMG models. It has put in work to develop kits for the AMG SL 65, AMG C 450, and the sedan version of the AMG C 63. Heck, it’s even worked on the previous version of the AMG C 63 Estate. To say that Vath knows what it’s doing with Mercedes-AMG models is an accurate portrayal of the tuner’s abilities, and we see those abilities on full display once again with its new program for the meaty estate. Pick a section of the AMG E 63, and there’s a chance that Vath has something for it. The estate’s exterior? Check. Interior? Check on that too. Drivetrain? You better believe it. There are even “miscellaneous items” on the table, just in case you’re in the mood to get those. This is the kind of comprehensive tuning program that Vath has built its name on. There may be more popular tuning firms in the world out there, but when it comes to quality Mercedes-AMG tunes, few are as consistently good as Vath.
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What in the World is Mercedes doing with this SLS AMG Electric Drive? Is an Electric AMG GT in the Works?
So, remember that failed electric sports car that Mercedes tried to make happen back in 2013? You know; the one that started out as the SLS AMG E-Cell in 2011 and became a “production” model with the name SLS AMG Electric Drive. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know what it was, considering not even 100 examples were sold when it went on sale. That was back just a few years ago when the four-motor car was good for all of about 160 miles on a full charge – not even enough to have a full day at the track or a nice Sunday drive. So why was Mercedes just caught testing one on public roads again? It was even caked with all kinds of testing equipment. Clearly, Mercedes has something new in the works. The question is: What?
Well, we have a feeling that Mercedes-AMG could be planning to bring an all-electric AMG GT to market before it signs the death warrant on the current generation. The current model is set to run to at least 2020, and if Mercedes plays its cards right, it could have an electric model on the market yet again by 2019. Whether or not it would perform any better sales-wise is a completely different story, but when you take into considering the fact that electric cars are more common now, battery technology is better, and new material can make cars lighter than before, a 250-mile all-electric GT is entirely feasible.
If this is actually the case, Mercedes could have retrofit an advanced, lightweight battery and lighter, more powerful motors into one of its old prototypes and is actually putting it through the paces to see if the technology can hold up to a beating. After all, a car like the AMG GT is meant to be driven, and hard, so if a second run at having an electric sports car is going to work, Mercedes needs to deliver something that can overshadow the best it’s got at this point in the GT lineup. The real question is whether or not an electric GT can actually be successful. After all, less than 100 of the SLS AMG Electric Drive were sold, so perhaps the truth is that we don’t want electric sports cars and maybe Mercedes should quit trying to make it a thing.
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Coupe - Driven
Let’s get this out of the way up-front: I don’t “get” the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Coupe or its cohort of other luxury-brand SUVs that have sporty, coupe-like rooflines. And I have not had the pleasure of driving most of the GLC 300 Coupe’s competition: sport-tinged SUVs like the BMW X4 and Porsche Macan come to mind.
These are intended to be more fashionable, driver-centric versions of their boxy-backed, taller SUV sisters. To that end, the GLC 300 Coupe was pretty fun to drive, as SUVs go. But it probably makes some cargo space and headroom sacrifices compared to the non-Coupe GLC 300. After all, as with fashionable clothing, sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice comfort for vanity.
2018 Mercedes-AMG A40
Mercedes is on a mission to replace its models every six years or so. So, with the current generation A-Class turning five years old as of 2017, it was no surprise to us when we saw the next-gen prototype putting in some work somewhere in Europe. Alongside the redesigned hatchback, Mercedes-Benz is also testing a new version of the AMG A45. More importantly, it seems that the German company wants to introduce a new model into the lineup. It’s reportedly called the AMG A40 and will slot below the familiar AMG A45.
As of June 2017, the prototype is still wrapped in lots of camo and padding, but that isn’t to say that we can’t identify some of the changes we can expect when the model does shed its prototype skin. It’s rather obvious that the next-gen A-Class will bring some evolutionary changes, all of which will find their way on the performance-oriented versions. The biggest news here is this new A40 trim, which will most likely be sold as an answer to the Audi S3 and BMW M140i. Until we get some official information, let’s have a closer look at what we already know about this hot hatch.
Update 10/23/2017: It’s only been a few weeks since we last so the Mercedes-AMG A40 out testing on the roads, and white as rain, it was caught in public again. Not a lot has changed, but there is something noteworthy to mention, so check out the spy shot section below for details.
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2017 Mercedes-AMG RXR One Super Gran Turismo by IMSA
With just over 500 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque at its disposal, the Mercedes-AMG GT S is far from what you or I would consider a supercar. It’s got some burn to it, sure, but it’s not going to win any races when you line it up against the Lamborghinis and Ferraris of the world. Imagine, then, what kind of program it would take for the AMG GT S to have the muscle for that action. Well, stop imagining because it’s actually come to life, all thanks to the fantastic folks over at IMSA. For your enjoyment, folks, I present to you the Mercedes-AMG RXR One Super Gran Turismo by IMSA.
Now, this is what a fully realized AMG GT S is supposed to look like. It may not be as sexy as its big bro, the AMG GT R, but it sure does make up for it in extra girth and muscle. That transformation was achieved in large part because of the work put in by the German tuner. There’s plenty to discuss here, including the steps by which IMSA was able to not only visually transform the AMG GT S. but increase power and performance to reach certified supercar territory.
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2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Final Edition
With almost 40 years of history now in the books, it’s time for the Merc G-Wagen to get a substantial update. But before that happens (the new-gen is expected to show at the Detroit Motor Show next year), the German automaker is releasing a new, glossier, limited production run dubbed the G 65 Final Edition. Bearing the same AMG-branded bones as the standard G 65, the Final Edition adds a host of aesthetic enhancements to help it stand out from the crowd. Outside, you’ll find large wheels, specialized trim pieces, and black and bronze coloring, while the interior comes decked out in nappa leather, carbon fiber, and unique badging, all set in the traditional top-shelf G-Wagen luxury.
Merc says over a third of its G-Class vehicle sales are the AMG variants, so it makes total sense to release this spruced-up special edition before we wave goodbye. With only 65 units slated for production, Mercedes is banking on exclusivity to move this thing, because they certainly won’t come cheap. Pricing starts at a whopping 310,233 Euros, which is around $368,000 at current exchange rates (10/19/2017). And in case you’re keeping track, that’s about $150,000 more than the standard AMG G 65. Seriously. So what the hell makes it worth all that extra outlay? Read on for the details.
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2017 Mercedes-AMG G63 RS 850 by Posaidon
The Mercedes-AMG G 63 may look like a car that has little care for the world of aftermarket tuning, but that couldn’t be further away from the truth. The hulking SUV has actually been a favorite subject among aftermarket tuners, and we see that on full display with this new tuning program from Poseidon.
The program is called the G 63 RS 850, and you don’t need to be a mathematician to know that the “850” in the program’s name refers to the kind of power the AMG G 63 now has at its disposal. The extra grunt is complemented by a series of exterior and interior upgrades, all of which combine to create a tuning kit that establishes a more flamboyant personality out of Mercedes-AMG’s resident mastodon. The RS 850 kit may not be the first program for the AMG G 63 to dip into this kind of tuning upgrade, but rest assured, this upgrade brings a lot more to the table than what we’ve seen in the past. Consider this program, then, a top-of-the-line choice for owners of the AMG G 63. Whatever you may want to do to your premium, off-roading ride, there’s a good chance that Poseidon has the upgrade that’ll leave a smile on your face.
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The Mercedes-AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept Is All Set For Its Hollywood Debut
Justice League is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year, and a film of this magnitude is going to attract a lot of heavy, cross-brand promotional partnerships. This kind of collaboration is particularly prevalent in the superhero film genre. We’ve seen Audis in the Iron Man movies, and Avengers: Age of Ultron and Acura in the Thor movies, and The Avengers. The massive audiences generated by these movies is the perfect place for publicity and, with Justice League scheduled to hit theaters on November 17, Mercedes-Benz will be prominently featured in the movie, specifically the Mercedes-AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept.
Yep. The same virtual car that the Silver Arrows presented back in 2013 for the Gran Turismo video game is now a movie star. Ok, that’s not entirely true because it’s not actually top-billing the movie., but it will play a prominent role as Bruce Wayne’s very own daily driver because that’s just how Batman rolls. Joining the Vision Gran Turismo Concept in the movie is the E-Class Cabriolet, which will be driven by no less than Diana Prince herself, who we know more popularly as Wonder Woman. The two Mercedes vehicles will play starring roles in the automaker’s partnership with the DC movie blockbuster, but it also won’t be Merc’s only involvement in the promotion of the movie. A series of commercials centered around Justice League will also be shown in the lead-up to the movie’s hyped up release. We literally have a little over a month before Justice League hits theaters all over the world so keep an eye out on all the Mercedes commercials featuring our favorite superhero in the coming weeks. The first one, called “Hard to Resist,” has already aired, and we can see it in all its glory in the video below.