- Award winning Kia Sorento halfway through first ever solo round the world road trip via Siberia
- 24,000 km global adventure has already taken record breaking Swedish driver/journalist Christer Gerlach from Sweden to Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia and now, Korea
(SEOUL) October 10, 2005 -- Kia Motors Corporation announced today that Christer Gerlach, the pioneering Swedish driver and adventurer, arrived in Korea -- the halfway point of his epic journey in which he plans to drive around the world solo in a completely standard Kia Sorento SUV.
In the most recent stage of the 24,000-kilometer journey, Mr. Gerlach -- driving a completely standard 3.5-litre, V6-engined Kia Sorento -- crossed the largely unmapped wastelands of Siberia en route to the port of Vladivostok, Russia. The next leg of his route will take him on the fabled Route 66 from California to New York.
Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice-President and COO of Kia Motors Corporation, who handed over the keys to the new Sorento to Mr. Gerlach in August at the start of his momentous expedition, welcomed the intrepid driver to Korea and hailed his arrival as a significant milestone for Kia Motors.
“We are extremely proud of Mr. Gerlach having made it to the halfway mark in his journey. His adventure brings to life our brand slogan ‘The Power to Surprise’ and has allowed us to demonstrate to the world the quality and reliability of the Kia product line up,” said Mr. Kim.
“The fact that Mr. Gerlach has arrived here in Korea, the home of Kia and the Sorento, after traveling through much of Europe and Asia, underlines how Kia has effectively become a global brand in recent years. We wish Mr. Gerlach the very best of fortunes for the remainder of his journey,” he added.
Speaking on his arrival at Seokcho port in Korea on October 6, Mr. Gerlach paid tribute to Kia and, in particular, to the Sorento, for its durability on the trip to date. “Kia deserves full credit for creating this excellent vehicle. I made it through the whole of Asia with just two punctures, one oil change, one change of light bulb and a headlight shaken loose. Well done, Sorento!"
The trip through Asia presented a range of challenges for both car and driver. On the way to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, Mr. Gerlach had to travel through rough, desolate terrain, mostly off-road, while driving from Russia to western Mongolia.
“On one day, it was possible to travel just 160 kilometers, over rough tracks, gravel, large rocks and across fords in small rivers, through endless dust and eventually up into snow. During this period, night temperatures dropped to below zero and I had to sleep in the car for four nights,” said Mr. Gerlach.
During his stay in Korea, while the Sorento is being transported to the USA, Mr. Gerlach is meeting a range of Kia executives, staff, and customers. He will also undertake tours of the company’s manufacturing and R&D facilities in order to experience first-hand the production and design processes that created the Sorento. Already, he has toured the DMZ and met with the Swedish General over the weekend.
After crossing the USA on the second half of his journey, he will then fly to the UK and drive through seven other European countries on his way back to Sweden.
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.