- Standard Kia Sorento SUV completes 27,000-kilometer world tour ‘trouble free’
- Swedish driver Christer Gerlach achieves first-ever solo global circuit via Siberia
- Challenges included off-road crossing of wild Mongolian and Siberian wastelands
(SEOUL) December 21, 2005 -- Christer Gerlach, the record-breaking Swedish driver and adventurer, successfully completed the ‘Sorento Around the World Expedition’ -- a 27,000-kilometer global adventure -- on Friday (December 16), when he drove his completely standard Kia Sorento SUV up to the gates of Stockholm’s Royal Palace almost exactly four months to the day since his mid-August departure from this Swedish landmark.
“My earlier confidence in the performance, quality and reliability of the Kia Sorento proved to be well founded,” enthused the 61-year old Swede. “The Sorento’s large diameter wheels and tires were essential to successfully finding an off-road route across much of Asia, as there simply were no roads or tracks to follow for much of the journey. I am of course delighted to be home in time for Christmas, but I am surprisingly fatigue-free as the Kia also proved to be a remarkably comfortable vehicle, even for this rather extraordinary journey.”
Gerlach’s round-the-globe adventure took him to 11 countries, including the remotest regions of Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and a 3,500-kilometer wilderness trek across the largely unmapped wastelands of Siberia en route to the famous Russian port of Vladivostok and the ferry to South Korea, the half-way point in his epic journey.
For this demanding challenge, Gerlach chose a 3.5-liter, V6-engined, automatic transmission Sorento, running in completely standard specification and on normal road tires. The Swede’s “fullest confidence in Kia’s 4x4” led to his decision to him to travel solo, without a support team, and to schedule one engine oil change as the only maintenance throughout this mammoth motoring expedition.
Gerlach’s pre-departure confidence was indeed well founded. The only unscheduled attention the Sorento required en route to Korea was to fix two punctures, one light bulb and one loose headlamp. During the second half of the world tour, Gerlach had to fix another light bulb, but otherwise the Kia ran entirely ‘trouble-free.’
The second half featured a trans-continental multi-state crossing of the USA and Mexico via Route 66 (visiting California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas and South Carolina); a trans-Atlantic voyage aboard the world’s largest car transporter vessel (the 7,000 car capacity Boheme) to Bremerhaven in Germany; and the final leg, via the 8-kilometer Oresund bridge from Denmark, to his Swedish home town.
“We are extremely proud to have partnered Christer during his epic adventure,” comments 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 the new Sorento to Mr Gerlach. “His exciting global challenge has allowed us to demonstrate the reliability, quality and excellence of our products all around the world and to bring to life our brand slogan ‘The Power to Surprise’.”
The Gerlach family is used to Christer ‘taking trips’ when he is not working as a journalist. His global adventurers have already earned him two entries in the Guinness Book of Records. Now, thanks to the Sorento’s performance and reliability, he is safely reunited with his wife Lotta and children -- Hampus (16) and twins Fanny and Hugo (13) -- at the family’s Stenhamra home in time for the Christmas celebrations.
Launched in 2002 the 4x4 Kia Sorento mid-sized SUV marked the beginning of a complete transformation of the Kia product line-up of vehicles, which now extends across all market segments from the A-segment Picanto to the spacious multi-seat Carnival MPV.
Since 2002, the Sorento has become a massive sales success all around the globe. During 2004, overseas sales of the Sorento climbed by 30% with over 106,200 units delivered. Through the first 11 months of 2005, Sorento sales totalled more than 107,100 units in overseas markets, up 10% on the same period of 2004.
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%.
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.