Italian supercar maker Ferrari is officially the world's most powerful brand, according to a new study by a British research firm.
In its 2013 Global 500 list, which names the world's top 500 most valuable brands, BrandFinance awarded the Prancing Horse marque top honours for brand power ahead of Google, Coca-Cola, PwC and Hermes.
That's despite the fact the niche supercar maker's overall brand value is substantially less than the world leaders. BrandFinance lists Apple (NZ$160 billion) as the most valuable brand, ahead of Samsung (NZ$107.8b), Google (NZ$95.5b), Microsoft (NZ$83.4b) and Walmart (NZ$77.4b). Ferrari's brand value was rated at NZ$6.6b.
BrandFinance chief executive David Haigh says Ferrari made up ground on the others through ''qualitative measures'' such as brand affection and loyalty.
"Technology, contractual, human capital and customer intangibles as well as general goodwill all drive overall corporate value," he said.
"There are other brands in the Global 500 that, though they may never challenge the brand value giants, are nonetheless extremely powerful and well-loved."
Full results of the BrandFinance 500 - including details of which other carmakers made the list - won't be released until February 28. The BrandFinance research took into account financial metrics such as net margins, average revenue per customer, marketing and advertising spend.
In a statement, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo said he was thrilled about the results of the study.
''This achievement proves that even in very tough economic times, Italy can still offer the world businesses of excellence,'' he said.
''It is always a pleasure to top any list and still more so when the competition includes some of the world's most famous companies. ''Behind this acknowledgement are exceptional products made by equally exceptional men and women. They made it possible and for that I thank them.''
The accolade comes as a double dose of good news for Ferrari, which this week posted its best financial result ever.
The Italian brand recorded an annual revenue of US$2.433 billion (NZ$2,87b) for the 2012 calendar year, with a net profit of €$244 million (NZ$385.8m) - a 17.8 per cent increase. The result was underlined by strong growth in the US (2058 sales), China (784 sales), Germany (750 sales) and Great Britain (673 sales).
A total of 7318 road cars were delivered to the Ferrari dealership network in 2012 (up 4.5 per cent on 2011).
We are all enormously proud of ending the year with these kinds of results despite the unfavourable economic backdrop in many European nations, and the distinctly hostile one in Italy,'' Montezemolo said.
''The credit for this goes to the men and women in Ferrari, the strength of the brand, a very complete and highly innovative range, and our gradual expansion into automotive markets worldwide.''
Ferrari is set to unveil its fastest car yet, the F12 Berlinetta, in June. A successor to the legendary Enzo is also due soon.
-Fairfax News Australia