Standard Kia Sorento 4x4 SUV to tackle 24,000 km global adventure
Record breaking Swedish driver Gerlach departs from Stockholm
Round-the-world challenge includes first ever solo crossing of Siberia
Route takes in 19 countries including Germany, Russia, Mongolia, Korea and the US
(SEOUL) August 17, 2005 -- Kia Motors Corporation has announced that Christer Gerlach, the record breaking Swedish driver and adventurer, is set to begin his latest epic global journey when he leaves Stockholm to drive a completely standard Kia Sorento SUV more than 24,000 kilometers around the world.
Starting on Thursday, August 18, Mr. Gerlach plans to complete the first ever solo circuit of the globe by car via the largely wild, unmapped Siberian wastelands, and to demonstrate the reliability, durability and quality of Kia’s award-winning Sorento 4x4.
Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice-President and COO of Kia Motors Corporation, who travelled to Stockholm in June to personally hand over the keys for a new Sorento to Mr. Gerlach, looks forward to welcoming the Swede to Kia’s headquarters in Korea in October.
“We are extremely proud to partner with Mr. Gerlach and wish him a safe and successful journey. His global challenge will allow us to demonstrate the quality and excellence of our products all around the world and to bring to life our brand slogan ‘The Power to Surprise’,” said Mr. Kim.
The chosen vehicle for the challenge is a completely standard specification 3.5-liter, V6-engined Kia Sorento, which will run on normal road tires. Mr. Gerlach will travel without a support team and has scheduled a single engine oil change -- at Kia’s headquarters in Seoul, Korea -- as the only maintenance throughout this mammoth motoring expedition.
“This kind of journey can be a high-risk project so I have been extremely careful to choose a vehicle in which I have the fullest confidence, and Kia seemed to be the perfect partner for this trip,” said Mr. Gerlach.
Mr. Gerlach will be leaving behind his wife Lotta and children Hampus (16) and twins Fanny and Hugo (13) at the family’s home outside Stockholm. They will be able to keep track of his trip through an on-line journal, since Mr. Gerlach plans to document his entire journey for his family as well as the media.
After completing the treacherous crossing of Siberia and Mongolia, and visiting the Korean peninsula, Mr. Gerlach will ship his Sorento to the US. He will drive through the famous Route 66 to New York, and then fly to the UK and visit seven European countries on his way back home in time for Christmas.
“Long distance, solo driving is a bit like an addiction. Once you’ve done it, you can get hooked. Driving is literally a down-to-earth way of traveling and you can learn a great deal about each country. For me, the road is the destination and that’s why I choose to travel alone,” said Mr. Gerlach.
His family has become used to Mr. Gerlach taking trips when he is not working as a journalist. His global adventurers have already earned him a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
Around the World with Kia
Christer Gerlach’s Sorento adventure will take him to 19 countries: Denmark, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, South Korea, USA, Mexico, UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Sweden. To follow Gerlach’s journey, go to Kia’s global homepage www.kiamotors.com after August 18th.
Since 1988, Gerlach has undertaken three trans-world motoring adventures. Previously he has set off to drive from Sweden around the world via the Middle East, India, Japan and California, from Norway’s North Cap south to Cape Agulhas in South Africa, and from the tip of Alaska to the toe of Argentina, his longest feat of endurance, a drive of 46,000 kilometers.
Launched in 2002 the 4x4 Kia Sorento mid-sized SUV marked the beginning of a transformation in Kia products – the first all-new model in a line up of thoroughly modern Kia vehicles which now extends across all market segments from Picanto small car to Carnival MPV.
With 3.5-liter V6 power and fully adaptable four-wheel drive system, plus robust reliability, and a spacious, comfortable five-seater interior, the 4567 mm long, Kia Sorento became a massive sales success all around the globe.
During 2004 the popularity of the Sorento was boosted in many markets by the introduction of a 2.5-liter common-rail diesel power mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Around the world 171,135 Sorento SUVs were delivered.
Earlier this year, Sorento was declared ‘best in class’ in the influential JD Power annual owner survey (in the UK) and was the only 4x4 to score the maximum ‘5-Star’ rating with an owner-satisfaction rating of 84%. In addition, Sorento was selected “Car of the Year 2003” by 4X4 Magazine Awards and “Best in Class” in the compact SUV segment by Truck Trend (USA) in 2004.
Sorento sales during the first seven months totalled nearly 80,000 globally.
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kiamotors.com) – one of the fastest growing automakers in the world -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world’s premier automotive brands. Kia’s 16 manufacturing and assembly operations in 12 countries produce more than 1.1 million vehicles a year that are sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 155 countries. Kia today has over 32,000 employees and annual revenues of $14 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup. Kia Motors Corporation’s brand slogan -- "The Power to Surprise" -- represents the company’s global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.