When Pope Francis takes his 5-day trip through South Korea, he will be doing so in the back of a Kia Soul.
It was the Pope himself who personally requested that a smaller car, more frugal car be chosen, with the Kia Soul, Morning, Ray, and Chevy Spark all options.
The Pope has become known for his frugal lifestyle, making the Soul crossover vehicle a perfect fit for his visit.
He has also been known to favor going open-topped in his car choices, despite the fact that recent Popemobile’s are generally bulletproof affairs after the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II back in 1981.
Previous Pope’s have gone a little more lavish in their car selections, with BMW’s and Mercedes models often chosen. The current Pope sees the Soul as being a more fitting vehicle to travel in.
Kia officials, while pleased with the decision, are saying little, perhaps due to the sensitivity surrounding the first visit of the Pope to the county in a quarter century.
An official from Kia did say that they have not been informed of the trim or color choice of the Soul, going on to say that the company would not be using this as a marketing ploy.
Despite their reluctance to cash in on the Pope’s decision, the belief in the industry is that Kia will benefit immensely from the exposure their brand will receive thanks to this decision. After all, it is very likely that the visit will be broadcast all over the world.
The Kia could use some help on the home front, as sales are sluggish at best. That is definitely not the case in the overseas market, where sales are brisk.
In the US alone, the Soul has moved 75,000 units in the first half of the year, which is a vast improvement on the 2,300 units sold domestically. (Source: Koreaherald)