Pope Francis Chooses Kia Soul for South Korea Visit

Since his papacy began last year, Pope Francis has been referred to as “The People’s Pope” due to his viewpoints as well as his no-frills lifestyle. Take his recent trip to South Korea, for example. During his first papal visit to Asia and the first pope to visit South Korea in 25 years, he chose to ride in the back seat of a Kia Soul.
Pope Francis riding in the Kia Soul 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from YouTube
While his recent predecessors would be chauffeured in lavish, custom-built vehicles like bomb-resistant and bulletproof Mercedes-Benz SUVs, Pope Francis hopped in the back seat of one of Kia’s smallest and most popular current models, although it isn’t clear if any modifications were made to the car for added protection. What’s more, these recent pontiffs rode around in bright white vehicles, but this Kia Soul looked about as ordinary as this hatchback can get painted up in what appears to be the Fathom Blue paint color.

And his choice of a Kia Soul was due to a lacking supply of roomier vehicles in the lineup of Kia or even Hyundai, which have both introduced more luxurious sedans Kia K900 (known as the K9 in South Korea) and the Hyundai Equus. Automotive News reports that Pope Francis often uses a 20-year-old Fiat hatchback to make official visits, but judging by the wheels on his car, at least he splurged for the Kia Soul ! (Exclaim).

For Kia, this is great visibility for a car that is already a strong seller. In the U.S. alone, the Kia Soul was the top-selling model in the Kia lineup last month racking up almost 15,000 sales, and it is currently the second-best selling car for Kia so far in 2014 with about 90,000 units tallied through July – less than 7,000 units behind Kia’s best-selling Optima sedan.

The video below from The Telegraph shows Pope Francis arriving in Seoul and greeting South Korea’s President Park Geun Hye before being whisked away in the Kia.

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