Toyota has moved into the top 10 of the world's leading 500 brands, according to a study by international consultancy firm Brand Finance.
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The Global 500 report said Toyota retained its status as the world's most valuable automotive brand as well as being 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 brand value, the measure of the brand's financial strength, was calculated at US$22 billion - lifting it from 13th to 10th place in the Global 500.

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.

The report, which was released this week, said the value of the top 500 global brands fell by 24 per cent last year, or US$707 billion, due to the financial crisis.

It said it was "an achievement" in the current climate that Toyota's brand value fell only 16 per cent.

The second-ranked car manufacturer, BMW, had a brand value of US$13.7 billion, down more than 20 per cent from US$17.2 billion.

In Australia, Toyota is the top-selling automotive brand and has led the sales charts for the past six years in a row.

In 2008, the company sold an all-time industry record of 238,983 vehicles in Australia - more than 100,000 ahead of its nearest rival.

Toyota manufactures more cars in this country than any other company. Last year's production tally exceeded 141,000 cars, of which more than 100,000 were exported - an Australian record.

The leading Australian-based companies were Woolworths (ranked 143) and Telstra (163), moving ahead of the National Australia Bank (256).