LONDON—Michelin has earned the distinction of being the world's most valuable tire brand for a third straight year, according to the latest rating by Brand Finance Group, although the gap to No. 2 Bridgestone narrowed considerably.
Michelin retained its No. 1 rating despite a 1 percent drop in brand value, to $7.16 billion from $7.23 billion, the London-based business valuation and strategy consultancy said. The value of the Bridgestone brand—which was No. 1 as recently as 2017—rose 1 percent over 2019 to $7.02 billion.
Farther down the list, China's Ling-long brand cracked the top 10, according to Brand Finance, based in large part on the ability of the brand's maker, Linglong Tire Group, to boost overseas sales to more than 25 percent of global revenues as well as its sponsorship deals with European soccer clubs Juventus F.C. and Vfl Wolfsburg.
Brand Finance noted that sponsorship strategies are not new to tire brands, but that tying a brand to sports teams outside of motorsports is relatively new. Besides Linglong, Pirelli Tyre, Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. have been building their awareness and familiarity with the public this way.
In its Automotive Industry 2020 report, Brand Finance called Michelin the tire industry's "thought leader," pointing out that the French tire maker's research into non-pneumatic "punctureless" tires and association with premium events helped the brand maintain its strength and status.