Each year, the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study lists values for the world’s biggest companies. The study's formula considers whether a brand resonates with buyers, whether it offers the benefit of different and new trendsetting products or features, and whether it is salient - something that comes to mind instantly.
The company says that its data is drawn from interviews with more than two million consumers worldwide.
For 2016, the top 10 saw two key changes to the guard: Lexus is out, losing its tenth-place position to American electric vehicle upstart Tesla, while the Volkswagen brand has been replaced by its own group stablemate, Porsche.
According to the study, Tesla's ascension into the top 10 can be attributed to innovation, a fundamental and stated focus on environment friendliness and its unusual direct-sales distribution model. These characteristics, Millward Brown says, set Tesla apart as the "most different".
"The Tesla brand has come to represent much more than beautiful cars; it also means breakthrough technology and exhilarating performance. Tesla has become a symbol of a new way of living - clean, bright, innovative and forward thinking," said analyst Emilie Hamer.
"Tesla’s pioneering spirit, as personified by founder Elon Musk, conveys an urgency to shed the old ways of doing things."
Volkswagen falling out of the top 10 will likely not surprise, with its emissions test cheating scandal impacting on the brand's value. Volkswagen Group brand Audi also suffered, holding its place in seventh but suffering a 6 per cent drop in brand value.
The top three brands saw their values approve, as did fifth-placed Nissan. The others either slipped or saw no change at all, except for Tesla and Porsche. As new entries, neither has a previous value in the BrandZ study to be compared to.
Elsewhere in the overall top-100 list, Google passed Apple to regain the top spot - a change attributed to key Google investments paying off in 2016 and Apple losing its shine as a consistent innovator - while Microsoft, communications company AT&T, and Facebook rounded out the top five.
Top 10 automotive brand values:
World's most valuable car brands in billions; rank in top global 100; % value change from 2015
1. Toyota - $29.5 (28) +2
2. BMW - $26.8 (33) +2
3. Mercedes-Benz - $22.7 (39) +4
4. Honda - $13.2 (74) -1
5. Ford - $13.1 (75) 0
6. Nissan - $11.5 (92) +1
7. Audi - $9.5 (*) -6
8. Land Rover - $4.7 (*) -5
9. Porsche - $4.4 (*) (**)
10. Tesla - $4.4 (*) (**)
(*) Did not rank in the top 100 global brands
(**) Did not rank in the top 10 most valuable car brands in 2015
Source: Millward Brown