Kia overseas PR chief Michael Choo on this years first-place ranking in the US JD Power Initial Quality Study: "We were essentially at the bottom in 2006."

Kia overseas PR chief Michael Choo on this year's first-place ranking in the US JD Power Initial Quality Study: "We were essentially at the bottom in 2006."

The global value of the Kia Motors brand grew 12% over the last year, according to Interbrand's 100 'Best Global Brands.'

The 2016 study showed the Hyundai Motor Group affiliate had risen five places to become the 69th most valuable brand in the world. Estimated brand value grew from US$5.7bn in 2015 to $6.3bn in 2016. Kia said the value had increased 603% since 2006, the year in which it "declared design-driven management as a key strategy behind the company's future growth" and hired current design chief Peter Schreyer.

"Despite economic uncertainty and stagnation in the automotive market across a number of regions, this welcome rise in Kia's brand value is a clear reflection of extensive company-wide efforts to ensure consistent and continuous growth in our brand power. This result provides us with further motivation to continue our mission to become the most desirable automotive brand in the eyes of consumers," said Charles Suh, Kia's head of corporate marketing.

Mike Rocha, Interbrand's global director of brand valuation, said: "Kia's impressive growth in brand value in recent years can be seen as a direct result of consumers' strengthening attachment to the highly desirable designs and features of [its] product line-up, and engagement with worldwide communications activities centred on developing the brand's image. Kia's brand performance in the European market, in particular, has been driven by a strong SUV line-up, as well as engaging experiential customer communications programmes, on- and off-line."

Ahead of the Interbrand announcement, Kia's overseas PR chief, Michael Choo, told just-auto in Seoul last week the company had significantly boosted its profile with sports marketing, such as its long-running sponsorship of the annual Australian Open tennis tournament and FIFA, UEFA, NBA and LPGA events, continuous new product launches with eight planned world wide in 2016 and 98 "new or enhanced" models in the next five years, plus this year's first-place ranking in the US JD Power Initial Quality Study. That was the first time in 27 years a non-premium brand had taken the top spot.

"We were essentially at the bottom in 2006," Choo said.

JDP also named Kia the third highest ranking brand among all non-premium manufacturers in its Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) awards for new vehicle satisfaction in the US.

Apple and Google claimed the top positions for the fourth consecutive year, Interbrand said in a statement accompanying the release of its 2016 Best Global Brands report. Apple's brand value grew by 5% to USD $178,119m, while Google's brand value rose 11% to USD $133,252m. Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Toyota, IBM, Samsung, Amazon, Mercedes-Benz and GE rounded out the top 10. Dior and Tesla entered the report for the first time, at 89 and 100 respectively.

The world's five top growing brands include Facebook (48%), Amazon (33%), LEGO (25%), Nissan (22%) and Adobe (21%), Interbrand said.

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